Fluid is a word we've often heard used to describe games, but perhaps it's most appropriate when talking about Flat Heroes. Parallel Circles, the small Spanish studio behind the game, has worked on every single detail via the game's spell in Steam Early Access and after a lot of listening to the community, and now we finally have the full release that lets us dive into the hectic platforming once again.
Its minimalist visual style makes it even better, as all we see are squares and geometric shapes. We can see the whole level at once which is also a lovely touch, although it did make us strain our eyes a touch when playing in handheld mode on the Switch. The style is simple, but it's not ugly, since there are plenty of cool effects like a hexahedron that splits into dozens of triangles or a dot that produces explosive tadpoles. When it comes to the bosses, the game gets a little more complex, but the pattern's never broken, as there are only ever four colours.
It's not only great to look at but also smooth on the ears as well since there's an electro soundtrack that's cheerful but not too intense. It's a shame the Switch speakers aren't the best, because the game suits handheld mode for the most part, so we suggest using headphones or some other quality audio output.
If minimalist is the word of choice when it comes to the stylistic side of things, it's also applicable to the gameplay, as you only ever have to make sure your little square avoids the traps and attacks on each level. Once you die though, you instantly reappear, so it's a mix between jumping, dodging, getting stuck, and dying. Oh, and there are bosses thrown in there for good measure too.
It's always the same, but you won't get bored easily because its microlevels are fast and diverse. It's punishingly hard as well, which is why we enjoyed having the option to skip levels, as well as having extremely responsive and precise controls.
As for the content, there's a lot here, and the final edition has more than twice the content of the Early Access Steam version. In the campaign mode, there are hundreds of addictive levels that will make it hard for you to stop playing, all of which fits into a lovely learning curve. When you think you're strong enough, try Survival as it includes several modes with global leaderboards. Just like the Tetris Infinity mode, you'll end up seeing Flat Heroes when you close your eyes at night.
They say you'll have the same amount of fun (or even more) with the multiplayer mode, but we haven't really tried that. It allows four people to play in the same game, local cooperative or competitive, but just don't expect to play online. It's such a pity, but we understand why a game that's so precise and so millimetric can't afford to have lag. However, it would have been awesome for those who have no-one to play with at home or just to challenge someone online.
We don't get too many AAA games in summer, so people tend to give more attention to the indies, and this is one that certainly deserves some time in the limelight. If you like fast games, playing Switch for 15 to 20-minute bursts (if you can stop, that is), and getting more and more challenges, you're going to love Flat Heroes.
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