Get it Greenlit is our weekly article on super promising titles that are featured on Greenlight but need a little help securing one of those lucrative spots on the service. Every week we’ll feature a playable title that is worthy of both your time and your money.
Can you imagine being a flightless bird? Having wings, feathers, and the right skeletal structure for flying, but just being totally unable to? It’s the plight of the protagonists of Flightless, which places you and a friend into the roles of two ducks who are totally incapable of flying or even jumping, due to their clipped wings. What they do have, though, is a magical ladder with multiple uses. This ladder is what the puzzle-platformer is built around.
What the hell is it?
Flightless, like many of its puzzle-platformer brethren, revolves around taking a singular mechanic — this time around it’s a ladder used to climb, descend, and even attack enemies — and applying it a million different ways to the environment. The game’s duck protagonists can’t jump or attack, so the ladder is there to pick up the slack. The aforementioned ladder has more uses than most Swiss army knives do. Naturally, being a ladder, it can be climbed on to both ascend and descend platforms. What makes it special is that it’ll extend until it hits another platform. While extending, it’ll also whack baddies and grab gems, which are used to open up new areas. The ladder can even extend around corners with the help of some circular devices.
The stages in Flightless aren’t separate entities; they’re all interconnected in a Castlevania-esque map, complete with hidden areas. The gems that are strewn across the map are the key to unlocking more areas, which are gated off. Chasing these floating gems is the core of the gameplay here, and it often intermixes clever use of the ladder, crates scattered across the level, and even using enemies as springboards. At first, using the ladder is a bit obtuse; something that a jump would solve in other games now requires climbing a ladder and falling off the side of it, but there’s an awful lot of puzzle solving finesse that plays into a lack of a jump.
No jumping? Sounds convoluted.
Only at first. The levels are all designed with the ladder in mind, but they’re also designed to test your prowess. Obstacles are often fast moving with only the minimal amount of safe room for the ducks. The variety of hazards in Flightless range from standard spikes and crushing columns to slime pits and monsters, but it’s the way that these are interchanged so effortlessly between rooms that warrants a look. Rooms rarely are solved the same way; there’s a great amount of level variety here. They’re not too punishing either, as a failed attempt to clear the level results in putting the ducks back at the beginning of the level. The gems will have to be recollected though.
The co-op shines here as well. Although the demo is currently limited to local co-op, the splitscreen component allows the two ducks to split up, both tackling separate paths in order to unlock the gem gates quicker. Gems are counted individually — although they’re counted together when opening gates — between players, so there’s an optional element of competition between the two players. There’s also the possibility of two-player speedruns, and it’d be interesting to see whether or not the game is quicker with two players working towards one objective or working separately on two different objectives. Naturally, the platforming elements are made easier with the introduction of a second player, but it’s wholly optional for those who want the core experience.
Sounds good, where can I play it?
While the full game is not out yet, you can sample Flightless with its official demo, which shows off a few of the mechanics and a number of rooms. Naturally, if the game resonates with you, please give it a vote over on Steam Greenlight. You can follow the developers, Nitrome, on Twitter for updates on the game. Furthermore, the official website hosts a number of Nitrome’s numerous Flash games, if you’re into that sort of thing. No pre-order details or platforms have been announced, save for PC. Lastly, be sure to tell your friends and family if you enjoy Flightless.
Are you an aspiring Greenlight developer who wants your game featured in our Get it Greenlit article? Are you a passionate fan who thinks we should feature one of your favorite games on Greenlight? Drop me a line at spencer (at) ghostvolta.com!