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Flyhunter Origins review for PS Vita


Platform: PS Vita
Publisher: Ripstone
Developer: Steel Wool
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

If you've ever wanted to see the very definition of an average game, I think Flyhunter Origins might just be it.

See, it's not terrible. As side-scrolling platformers go, I've definitely played worse. It has a reasonably coherent story, so it's not like you're ever wondering what's going on. The controls generally work as they're supposed to, though considering we're only talking about a 2.5D platformer (with the occasional 3D section), that's not something to brag about. The graphics are kind of okay — not dazzling, but they get the job done without ever tearing or glitching or doing anything they shouldn't. In every respect, Flyhunter Origins is competent. It's workmanlike. When people say "it is what it is," they could be talking about this very game.

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And that's not necessarily a bad thing! There are all kinds of games that could only dream of being described as competent, workmanlike, or solidly average. For Flyhunter Origins to do that is certainly…well, not quite a stupendous achievement, but it still counts for something. I guess. In a way.

The problem is that most people want games that are more than simply just there. They want to play games that are memorable or fun, and I don't think those are adjectives that could be used to describe Flyhunter Origins. Start with the story: you play as an alien who accidentally jettisoned your ship's crew, and you have to go out into space to retrieve everyone and everything you lost. As I said, it's straightforward enough — but it's still presented and told in the most boring way imaginable. I can't say I was ever compelled to keep playing just to see what would happen next (though it didn't help that the main character sounded like a cross between Bentley from Sly Cooper and the little green aliens from Toy Story). It all just sort of ambles along until it comes to a conclusion about 20 (most short) levels later.

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The graphics are similarly "meh". Outside of the moderately decent-looking cutscenes, nothing here is that visually impressive. While the in-game graphics occasionally veer into eyesore territory, with greens and yellows that are far too bright, for the most part you get drab visuals that bring early-era PS2 games to mind. To their credit, they never falter, but again, "generally stays in one piece" seems like the absolute basic you should expect from a game.

If there's one area where Flyhunter Origins kind of falls down — rather than just staying upright — it's when we're talking about the controls. Generally, they're okay, since the game isn't too demanding; you're just walking backwards and forwards, jumping up to higher levels and swatting/zapping enemy bugs. This, Flyhunter Origins can handle. When it gets more complicated, though — i.e. when you have to jump from one small, flimsy surface to another, or when you need to rapidly evade spiders plunging down at you from the ceiling — then things get a little harder to handle. Standing on a drooping leaf, for example, you can never quite tell when you can stand on an edge or when you'll plummet to your death; seeing as you'll spend a big portion of the game standing on the edges of leaves, you can see why it might be considered an issue.

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But only a bit of an issue — though perhaps it's only a bit of an issue (rather than a huge one) because it seems hard to muster up too much outrage over such a mediocre game. If Flyhunter Origins were great otherwise it would be the cause of great consternation, while it could be one more enraging thing if the whole game sucked. If it's just one more mild annoyance in a game that's full of mild annoyances, though, it's hard to get too worked up.

Which, really, is Flyhunter Origins in a nutshell. It's not going to evoke strong feelings in you, and it generally seems to exist just so other games can seem way, way better and way, way worse. It might be worth picking up if you don't want to feel very strongly either way about a game, but otherwise, why waste your time?

Grade: C