Monday, February 8, 2021

Matter of Import 028: Flappy (Famicom, 1985)


Flappy was a 1983 sokoban-like puzzle game released by db-Soft for the Sharp X1 computer. It was quickly ported to other Japanese computers, and eventually made its way to the Nintendo Famicom by 1985, but is relatively unknown beyond Japan.

In Flappy you play a yellow mole whose goal in each stage is to push a blue boulder onto a blue platform. This requires significant forethought, and even in early stages its easy to get yourself into an unwinnable situation. As Flappy you can freely move up, down, left, and right, but the boulders are affected by gravity and will fall if pushed over a gap, or if the boulder behind them is destroyed.

Each level also contains enemies, some of which will hunt you, others will simply patrol an area of the screen. They can be crushed by boulders, and Flappy can pick up what looks like mushrooms to chuck at them to temporarily stun them to make this easier.

It's definitely one of those puzzle games where you need to start at the solution and work your way back to figure out what boulders you need to push in which order to beat each level – and then you need to execute that plan without screwing up or getting killed by monsters. Mistakes are harshly punished, and Flappy doesn't control especially well... it's a tough game, and not in a genre I generally enjoy.

That said, if you do like puzzle games of the "push stuff around" sokoban-style variety, Flappy isn't offensively bad... just a bit lacking in variety despite the 200 stages the game offers. I give Flappy a C rating.


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