Who still remembers Flappy Bird? The game was so addicting and made the developer so rich that he actually couldn’t cope with it and decided to remove the game from the app stores altogether. Now it’s been around seven years since the game left our phones, but it seems a similar game has now stretched its wings and is ready to leave the nest with Fledgling Heroes.
The story woven around Fledgling Heroes is simple, but at its core it’s more than just a minor matter. What other reason, after all, is that Fledgling Heroes is entertaining and motivating, the birdies look so wonderfully cute, but are also so smartly animated? We start in the first level as a youngster, a very young parrot in a good mood. As soon as we press the A button, we start flying. Each time you press the A key, there is a wing beat and we gain a little height. If we don’t press, we sink. Alternatively, we can hold down A to slowly sink down. That is the principle of the game.
That this simple gameplay is nevertheless entertaining and motivating is due to the level design. That is initially designed so that we can learn the basics without doing much wrong, because we can only be caught by obstacles in the event of gross negligence. Obstacles are the common lizards that stand around and fire with cannons, or hit the head with a rock or something similar.
On the other hand, if we have the right angle, we can at least nudge enemies from above and thus eliminate them, or, for example, hit floors to bounce off them again – a bit like a bouncy ball. With each additional level, the obstacles are positioned more and more compactly, so that we have less time and space to avoid.
But dodging and somehow getting to the finish is not all. There are several goodies in each level. These can be parts of a map, but also small cages in which our friends have been locked up. Just touch and we have collected a goodie or freed a friend. The really important things are the golden feathers. Because only with these can we advance in the game – while all other things are rather optional. From time to time there is a lock on the world map that can only be opened if we have collected enough springs.
Sometimes a requirement has to be fulfilled for a spring. Catch at least two lizards in the level, or free all friends from the cages in the level, for example – if that succeeds and we still make it to the goal, there is a golden feather as a bonus. However, our little parrot does not remain alone on its journey, over time we come across other helpers, who we take on in many levels. There is the little seal lady Penny, with whom we do not fly through the air, but swim under water … And all of them have their own idiosyncrasies. Lucky, for example, will certainly fly some days, but at the moment he can only flutter a little, so that several levels play more like a kind of jump and run.
So a lot of variety comes into play: Because all heroes play a little differently, although the gameplay itself never changes at any time. At the same time you get to the finish and notice that you didn’t find all the objects and you start again immediately and again and again because you just want to have everything collected. It should also be said that simply reaching a level goal with patience always remains feasible, because the level of difficulty picks up well in the first game area, but you also groov yourself into the player rhythm over time. No, what really needs sitting meat and can take a long time is to have fulfilled all the requirements and picked up all the goodies in every level – or at least to have a necessary amount of golden feathers in your inventory.
Not only the easy-to-understand gameplay and its associated motivation ensure that good mood, but also the cuddly but not kitschy graphics and especially the soundtrack, which exudes a lot of feel-good character. It’s a shame, however, that there aren’t that many tracks and that they only change after a bump of several completed levels. So you always hear the same piece for a while – as nice as all the tracks are, you could have solved it differently. The controls can no longer really be said, because nothing else is occupied than the A button and all heroes react to all of our key presses without any problems. So if it doesn’t go ahead, it’s our fault, not the game’s.
As a fat bonus, there is also a level editor that is quick to learn and easy to use. You can quickly create your first creations and share them with the rest of the world via an online connection. Conversely, of course, this also means that you can play the levels of others. Self-made levels always require various requirements, which then have to be fulfilled as a player – just like the regular levels of the adventure mode. Overall, the level editor area provides a lot of free, almost infinite extra content that can even be rated, categorized and searched. That’s the way it has to be!
Playing in pairs is also possible. Simultaneously, cooperatively and on the same screen. The principle is known from current Raymans – or Marios. Both try to get through the level and meet the conditions, but you can get away from each other if person A touches a turbo arrow and person B does not. B falls behind and out of the picture section, but reappears in a bubble seconds later. If A touches this bubble, B is there again. In this way, the other person serves more or less as additional insurance, because as long as the other person is in the race, it goes straight on if you are released from the bladder instead of having to start over or start at the last checkpoint.
Fledgling Heroes succeeded. The basically super-simple gameplay becomes a perennial favorite due to the clever challenges and well-placed obstacles and often makes “only this level” much more, especially if you want to book all the challenges for yourself. On top of that, the level editor with online functionality, which adds countless more to the more than 90 included levels. One should only be a little bit frustrating – some levels are really hard chunks, whether supplied or created by others.
Fledgling Heroes offers simple gameplay and fun challenges that both make for a very addicting and fun experience.