Review by Kwing
Simple But Addicting
Flicky feels a lot like some of the old arcade classics put together. It's a collect-and-avoid game with respawning enemies like Pac Man or Lode Runner, and your collectibles can be cut off from you a little like Snake, yet the game is actually a platformer. So is it any good? Surprisingly, yes.
As stated earlier, Flicky is a platformer. You play as a bird and go around rescuing chicks. Touching them will cause them to follow you, and in order to complete a stage, you must escort all of them back to the area you started in. You get bonus points for escorting multiple chicks at once, but the more of them you escort, the longer 'tail' of chicks you have following behind you, and if the enemies chasing you interrupt that chain, any chicks touching them or further down the chain break off from the group, requiring you to go back and pick them up again when it's safe.
The enemies chasing you are deadly, consisting of cats that are extremely adept at jumping from platform to platform just as you do, and an iguana that speeds along platforms, climbing vertically and upside down along a piece of ground and occasionally jumping perpendicular to the surface they're on to stick to a different platform and start the whole process over. Random objects spaced along the level act as projectile weapons - touching one causes Flicky to carry it around, and jumping will simultaneously launch the projectile sideways. This is kind of tricky, as you don't always want to jump when you fire your weapon, but adds a level of strategy. You can, however, fire your weapon in midair by collecting a throwable on a high platform and pressing the jump button while falling from it (which does not make you jump.)
One of the more memorable things about Flicky is the controls and how they feel. You bounce off of walls, both on the ground and in midair, and because Flicky flaps his wings in midair, you fall a little slower than you might in other platformers. Some may find the controls to be a little slippery but they ultimately make the game more distinctive and allow for clever platforming via bouncing. All of the levels loop from left to right, but the camera moves with the player, making the level feel longer.
The level design is fairly simple and there are some stages that clearly didn't have a lot of thought put into them, but there's 50 levels total and lots of variety. A few of them are stupid hard because of choke points, but overall the many levels found in the game are a strong point.
Even for the year this came out, these graphics are very simple. Sonic came out the same year as this and had dazzling graphics, while this looks like a slightly brighter Donkey Kong. That said, it's functional and thankfully not distracting or confusing. Sound-wise the game is really unimpressive.
I have a lot of games I'm trying to get through right now so I took the liberty of speeding through this with save states. It's not a particularly long game but passing all 50 levels would be damn tricky. You start over with more aggressive enemies after that, too. This may not be a 40-hour RPG but it was never intended to be. For an arcade game it's fine.
Flicky is fun but not something I would have actively been seeking out. If you can get it for free, go for it. If it comes with a game bundle, go for it. It feels really good on a portable console too, given its simplicity. But while it's good for what it is, there is no way this could compete with other Genesis games of this age.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: Flicky (US, 12/31/91)
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