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Fly'N: An Addictive Puzzle-Platformer

Previews By Som Pourfarzaneh on October 05, 2012

With the wide array of media that Ankama Games develops based on the Wakfu and Dofus franchise, from video games, an animated TV series, manga, a trading card game, and action figures, I shouldn't be surprised by the company's ability to think outside the box.  Even so, having played both of Ankama's flagship MMOs, I'm pleasantly amazed by their new puzzle-platformer, Fly'n, which is an upcoming PC game submitted to Steam's new Greenlight platform.  Gameplay-wise, it's a world away from the turn-based, massively multiplayer entries of Wakfu and Dofus, but it still has that fun and quirky Ankama touch nonetheless.

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First things first, Fly'n takes place in an entirely new universe different from that of Wakfu and Dofus, in the world of Helycia.  The cosmic garbage man known as Dyer is trying to steal the World-Trees' sap, and the trees have set out to protect themselves with creatures known as Buds, such as our little protagonist Flyn and his three friends.  To draw a comparison, the game looks and feels a little like Ubisoft's Rayman: Origins, with a tiny bit of the floral aesthetic of Q-Games' Pixel-Junk Eden, but has its own strong sense of identity, character, and gameplay that is supported by Ankama's charming art design and sense of humor.

The game plays much like a platformer with significant puzzle elements, and you'll take the catfish-bug-plant-looking Flyn and three other characters through forty levels and five worlds, utilizing the Buds' different powers to advance and save the day.  As you progress through the levels, you'll be collecting what look like flower petals, solving puzzles, and uncovering secrets while jumping, dashing, and gliding around, and can use powers like emanating musical notes to expose new petals.  The game also has two visual styles called "Innate vision" and "Subtle vision" that you can switch between and that have a significant gameplay component.  One of them has a more nighttime style and is what the game looks like when you start playing; the other sports a more daytime feel and allows you to uncover different pathways or items, like windstreams that can only be accessed through that visual mode and petals that would be otherwise hidden.  Switching between the visual styles is integral to progressing through the game and making it through seemingly blocked areas.

Fans of platformers will be happy to know that after you complete a level, the game will reward you with several stats, such as the number of flower petals picked up, time to complete, and more info, summed up in a general score.  I'm not sure if and how Ankama plans to implement leaderboards and challenges related to these stats and scores, but there's certainly a lot of potential here for competitive platforming.  Additionally, although I was playing with a mouse and keyboard, Fly'n does support gamepads, so if you prefer platforming with a controller, you're golden.

Overall, I found Fly'n to be fun, addictive to play, and a welcome diversion from more heady titles.  Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of depth to be found in the puzzle-platformer, but it has a certain lightness that is refreshing, with an art and musical style that is pleasant if not downright relaxing.  If you're a fan of puzzle games and platformers, or even just like supporting Ankama Games, I highly recommend heading over to Steam and upvoting Fly'n on Greenlight.  In fact, I'd love to see the game on other platforms, as it would work well on consoles and handheld devices.  The game is currently in its alpha version, will be released this fall, and is definitely worth a try.  You might find yourself charmed!

If you'd like to help out Ankama and their latest project, head over to Steam's Greenlight and give it some love

Som Pourfarzaneh / Som has been hanging out with the MMORPG.com crew since 2011, and is an Associate Director & Lecturer in Media, Anthropology, and Religious Studies. He’s a former Community Manager for Neverwinter, the free-to-play Dungeons & Dragons MMORPG from Cryptic Studios and Perfect World Entertainment, and is unreasonably good at Maze Craze for the Atari 2600. You can exchange puns and chat (European) football with him on Twitter @sominator.

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