With the most basic of set-ups imaginable, Flycatcher finds you taking control of an admittedly rather unthreatening looking spider as you look to reap your revenge on the bugs and flies that are making life a living hell for you and your friendly spider buddies. Why you ask? Haven’t got a clue. But hey, in the grand scheme of things, I guess knowing the underlying socio-economic or racial reasoning’s behind this feud probably aren’t all that important.
For whatever reason, you’re left as Mr Spider (that’s what I’m going to call him) as you attack your bug-based foes with your web as you swing through each of the small, but often deceptively well designed, stages. Shooting a web that latches onto the majority of surfaces, you use this web to either shoot directly at your enemies or to strike them with the web as you swing. It’s a simple enough concept, but one that, thanks to a largely successful swinging mechanic, is more than enough to offer a few hours of simplistic but strangely compelling gaming.
With random areas of rain fall that stop your web from sticking, combined with numerous water hazards (water that makes your legs fall off for some strange reason) and the additional abilities to slow down time and increase your swing speed (both of which drain your stamina meter), Flycatcher actually delivers a surprisingly stern challenge that swiftly increases in difficulty after the first few initially simple stages.
Sadly, while much of this challenge is linked to the fiendish level design found in many of the game’s latter stages, it also comes courtesy of a zooming camera that often requires you to awkwardly hold down the L trigger for the entire stage and a somewhat inaccurate web shooting mechanic that will often see you shooting at little more than air when met with moments that require anything resembling true accuracy.
Beyond these often frustrating control issues, one should also be warned that Flycatcher is a rather ugly game that, despite the occasionally pleasant background music and bright and breezy colour palette, is extremely basic in its audio/visual delivery. I’m all for a retro look, but here, the visuals are rudimentary rather than retro and lack any kind of charm or artistry. Oh, and in case you hadn’t already noticed, Flycatcher also happens to be one of the worst videogame titles I have ever heard.
In a marketplace in which capturing the consumers attention is of the highest order, calling your game Flycatcher probably wasn’t the wisest choice. Yes, it does make sense on that most basic of levels, but my God, if I hadn’t been allotted this game for review, I can’t imagine me ever giving it a second glance with a name like that. I’m not suggesting Super Awesome Robot Spider Gaiden or anything, but I’m sure the developers could have come up with something a little more imaginative had they given it a little more thought.
Despite its problems though, thanks to the simple joy that can be derived from successfully swinging from one end of the stage to the next in an unbroken chain as you cut down the flies and bugs strewn about the level in one fluid motion, Flycatcher is a game that manages to rise above its underlying issues to deliver a largely enjoyable budget gaming experience. With full online leader boards and a little more polish, Flycatcher could have been one of those classic one-more-go videogames in the mould of a Trials or a Super Meat Boy, but as it stands, Flycatcher is a game that will provide fleeting entertainment laced with moments of sheer frustration. Far from perfect then, but certainly addictive for as long as it lasts.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox 360 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.