Thanks to Parallel Circles for the review code
Title: Flat Heroes
Release Date: 9/8/2016
Flat Heroes goes for a simplistic art style, not unlike many, many other games. Really, what you see is what you get, and it works just fine. Not much else to add, outside of how I guess it’s neat that the worlds change palette, and if you particularly take to a specific scheme, you can lock it in place with the press of a button. Everything here comes in various shapes and sizes, and I can’t do much else to describe what’s already been done to death in this nature before.
The good news is the devs did a great job at still offering enough enemy variety with the shapes, despite how they’re shapes and are seemingly limited in choice, but no, some of these enemies are legitimately cool takes on them! Even the stages change form, leading to some pretty fun throwbacks to other similar indie titles, which brought a smile to my face.
The music is equally fine. Nothing bad, nothing great, just serviceable background noise. The sound effect cues for the enemies at least are a good help to identify just exactly what is coming up next, but otherwise not much to note here, either.
Flat Heroes is a simplistic, stage by stage survival platformer, where the main goal of each stage is to survive waves of enemies and hazards and make it out alive. You have a basic jump, which can be done several times in succession to dash in any direction, and a shield attack, which acts as a split-second escape from hazards if timed properly. There honestly isn’t that much else to explain, for this is yet another of those simplistic, pick up and play platformers I’ve covered time and time again here, and thus is very easy to jump right into.
You have 10 worlds to go through, leading to approx 150 main stages, with alternate stages unlocking after the fact. Each world adds a new set of hazards to the older ones, leading to the stages becoming increasingly more chaotic as you progress throughout the adventure. From homing shots, lasers, hazardous surfaces, among many, many other obstacles thrown your way, Flat Heroes offers a decent variety for its short levels.
One of the main draws of this game is the four player co-op support, which can be done in the main campaign levels, the versus multiplayer mode, and the other game modes. Unfortunately, I never was able to lock down a co-op partner for this game, so I can only really describe the versus experience against a bot, and it seems like your typical “outlast the other player” competition mode. That being said, with how short the stages are and how incredibly tough they can get, I wouldn’t be surprised if the four player co-op in the campaign was the definition of chaos, making this a game fit for a system like Switch or any platform you have plenty of controllers for.
Still, as a solo experience, Flat Heroes was fine enough. The game is a simplistic platformer with not much to it outside of being a way to test your reflexes, and the unlockable survival mode is another incentive for replay value. It works good for pick up and play sessions since the stages are so brief and it autosaves constantly, and trial and error will eventually get you through to the end if you want to stick around that long. There’s not much here, but sometimes a simple experience that’s quick to jump into is what you need sometimes, no?
At the end of the day, I cannot really make an excuse for why Flat Heroes fell into the abyss of my review queue, as nothing about this game is particularly that complex, extraordinary, or even that remarkable. It’s a fine, simple platformer that would seem great in a co-op setting, but in this steam version, that isn’t the easiest thing to set up. I can at least verify it works amazingly on Steam Deck, with the whole experience running with not one issue, but otherwise, this really just feels like yet another in the huge wide bin of simplistic platformers, even if the dodge-em-up focus works better for the pick up and play vibe they went with.
Still, shameful delay on my end or not, this isn’t a bad game, and while it doesn’t do much special, it does end up being a enjoyable enough timekiller, and if you have a Steam Deck, this ain’t a bad way to pass the time on the go.
I give Flat Heroes a 6 out of 10.