Flat Kingdom Paper's Cut Edition | Nintendo Switch Review

Friday 1 April 2022

 Ratalaika Games
Developer: Fat Panda Games
Nintendo Switch Review

*Disclaimer: I was sent the code for this game in return for a review, all opinions are mine and mine alone.

Platform games will never be my strong point, I get frustrated and give up easily yet Flat Kingdom grabbed my attention and determination to get through each level and test myself as best as I can, the game originally came out in 2016 on Microsoft Windows/macOS and from April 1st will be available on consoles. Whilst playing as a charming little character called Flat you find yourself up against Hex who has not only kidnapped the princess but also stolen one of the six jewels that protects the kingdom from malice and chaos. Sounds like every other platformer involving a princess but there is a twist, Flat must change into different forms of himself to defeat enemies and make his way to the princess, you will play through a mixture of puzzles in order to progresses but the bulk of the game is platforming.

The fate of Flat's kingdom is on Flat's shoulders, he is the only one capable of doing this because of his unique power to shapeshift, it took me awhile to get to grips with how his shapeshifting worked and trying to remember which move will defeat an enemy. At first I was trying to remember what moves would work against enemies until I looked in the settings and saw there was an option to show what shape Flat needs to turn into to get past an obstacle or enemy called Shape Guide. There are 3 different shapes Flat turns into, triangle, circle and square, it kind of reminded me of rock paper scissors, circle gave players the ability to double jump, triangle lets you move faster and square you slow down yet can push things along, break obstacles and sink when needed.

The battle system is interesting, each shape Flat morphs into is capable of defeating an enemy just by touching them, you will need to use an opposite shape to what an enemy has and at times an enemy will need a combination of shapes in order to be defeated, these are the type of enemies I liked going against most. Shapeshifting is the main aspect of the game, with each level you unlock you learn more of what Flat is capable and your main shapeshifting powers are upgraded helping Flat against tougher bosses. Bosses are one of the hardest part of the game, not because they're hard to defeat it's just a pain having to remember the best combination and get the right timing for certain ones you go up against. for example there is a whale boss named Hank (great name) when I was off with my timing and missed an opportunity to do damage it completely threw me off the next sequence, in the end it didn't take much to get past him. 

New abilities help players go back to previous levels to access other areas, players can then collect any coins that they missed before which can be used to upgrade Flat's health. I found myself dying ridiculous ways when I wasn't paying attention to how fast an enemy would reach me so I never changed my form quickly enough, this would get annoying as I would find myself further back on a level because I hadn't reached a checkpoint closer to where I was yet. Achievements spurred me on, there are 48 to unlock in total as well as finding Journal pages throughout each level, by going into the menu in gameplay mode you can access your journal which shows both of these.

The clever backdrops drew me in, it's a mixture of 2D shapes and looks much like a popup book, it's not too over the top but gives you an idea of what can be achieved when designing a 2D game. Music is composed by Manami Matsumae, those who are fans will recognise her work from Mega Man, she's been in the industry for many years and has also composed music for the likes of Dynasty Wars, Shovel Knight and many many more. Flat Kingdoms soundtrack is a mixture of slow tempo and fast rhythms which are catchy and got stuck in my head easily.

Players have three different difficulty options, i've only tried Flat Newbie and Flat Hero as I know I will get frustrated with Flat Legend. However this doesn't mean the game is accessible, there aren't any accessible options so players who have slow reaction times will have a hard time playing through this. Although I found the game to be fun others might not feel the same way, at times it can feel very generic and repetitive. The developers at Fat Panda Games took the idea of a 2D paper-craft platforming game and came up with a great spin, I love that the fear of a world turning 3D pushes the protagonist to do his utmost to get the world back how it should be. Flat Kingdom is out from today on Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4/5 and Xbox one/Xbox Series X|S for £7.99, so why not grab it! 

Have a cosy day


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