[Review] FLATLAND Vol. 1 – Nintendo Switch

Written by Kevin Orme
  • Developer: Minimol Games, kyuu Fujisaki
  • Publisher: QUByte Interactive
  • Price: $4.99 / £4.49
  • Release Date: 30/4/2020
  • Review code provided by QUByte Interactive

Introducing: FLATLAND Switch Review

There are a lot of people who want to make vaporwave in games happen and some of them have made it work really well. Some examples include Far Cry Blood Dragon, The Impossible Levels in Runner 3 and Tron Legacy, just to name a few. However, it’s a risky route to take. Most people who try this unique ’80s aesthetic mess it up because it just feels like they said, “if it’s vaporwave it’s cool, right?” and didn’t focus on anything that made the game fun.

Well! I am glad to say that this isn’t the case for FLATLAND, a neon-fueled, hazard-riddled platforming jump fest that might just rock your face clean off.

Enter the Mainframe

You are a square. That’s it. That’s all the character you need for something as great as this. Your objective is to make it out of whatever neon-clad prison you are stuck in through your amazing precision platforming skills. Jump and climb your way to victory as you avoid every single thing that is trying to kill you! It’s pretty great!

If you’re looking for story, this isn’t your jam, friend. All you need to know is that there are spikes and enemies that you want to avoid and little secrets and collectibles you want to grab. It looks like maybe there is some sort of “liberate your fellow square brethren” kind of situation, but I can tell you now that ignoring anything related to narrative here won’t hurt your gaming experience.

Perfectly Simple

FLATLAND goes the route of the “simple concept with challenging gameplay” route that I certainly love these days. There’s not a whole lot to the mechanics, really: You jump, you double jump, you wall jump. Really, that’s it. I mean, that’s all that you as a player get to work with. The game goes much more into what it will throw at you, but your toolset is exactly as big as it needs to be without getting confusing.

Something to note as well is that this game has several different game modes. There’s on where it turns the entire game into a boss rush, one that’s all about shooting for some reason, and quite a few more! The “story” mode is certainly what I spent a big chunk of my time on, but this ended up being much more expansive than I had previously imagined. There is plenty to do out in FLATLAND, so make sure to take the full tour!

Under The Bright Lights

As I stated before, Vaporwave is an easy enough concept to understand: Neon to the max, grids everywhere, and it should feel like it belongs in an arcade in the mid ’80s. The word “radical” seems like it should be just around the corner. FLATLAND nails this aesthetic perfectly. Nothing feels like it’s trying too hard and it all just meshes together into this beautiful homage to what we all remember the ’80s to be. The brightness never feels like it’s too much and it really keeps you invested in the whole experience.

The music is an absolute jam too! The soundtrack goes in heavy on the Techno and thumping beats so you never feel like the energy drags at any point. There’s a decent amount of tracks, too, so you never get bored by the songs you hear (and if you ever do, there’s a skip track button! Nice!). This game has style – loads of it.

Glitches in The System

Now, I do have some issues with FLATLAND. I had some serious technical issues as I dove deeper in the bright depths, revolving around both the music and the gameplay proper.

There were a few times as I played through the game that the playlist of the music would just cut out. So, in a game where that music is such a driving force to keep you going, anything that takes that away is a big hit to your energy. It was also a little bit frustrating that the only way that I could get the music to kick back on was to reset the game.

Secondly, there were a few game-breaking bugs that kind of killed the experience for me. The biggest of which was a moment near the end of the game where I was tasked with pushing a button to open a door. However, after I had died a few times to hazards further on in the stage the switches stopped working. It’s uh, kind of hard to progress in a game when the game stops working. So, hopefully this will get fixed in a patch down the road, but for now it’s not exactly great.

Logging Out

FLATLAND is pretty great (and will be even better if the developers fix those issues I came across) and it hurts me to say that I can’t entirely recommend it to anybody out there without any reservations. For five bucks, it’s definitely worth a try, though! What it does well, it does really well. It’s fun and it’s certainly worth looking into. So, go out there and give these folks some love!

PROS

  • Bangin’ soundtrack
  • Solid platforming
  • Hits the challenge sweet spot

CONS

  • Some Major bugs really ruin the experience when they hit.

Verdict

For only a few bucks you can get a really great platformer full of style and explosive color. Even with the glitches I’ve found, this was a great time.

3/5

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