Proving Chris Columbus wrong, Flat Kingdom demonstrates that the world is flat. It is admirable when game purposely markets itself as a game without 3D but this isn’t a Paper Mario clone as you might assume from a screenshot. Instead, this is a rock-paper-scissor action platformer with a hint of environmental puzzle solving.
The standout gameplay gimmick comes from being able to change shape at the push of a button. When in triangle form, you can run really fast and impale circular enemies. The square form moves slow but can push boxes, sink in water, and defeat triangle baddies. The circle form can double jump, walk at a normal speed, and take down square rivals. Players will need to switch forms often to overcome each obstacle and enemy but on occasion it is a little difficult to tell the shape of a foe. Some trial and error might be needed and you’ll need to memorize which form kills which shape.
Each area is composed of a stereotypical set piece like forests, castle backdrops, and even water stages but traversal requires constant changing of the shape. You might need to long jump a gap as the triangle, quickly change to the circle to double jump to a higher ledge, then change to the square mid-jump to smash an enemy below. Sometime abilities are used creatively but sometimes they can be a little too gimmicky and require finger dexterity.
There are plenty of floating coins to collect, some are hidden away while rewarding the player for exploring, and can be spent on health upgrades which is a worthy cause to collect so many. On occasion, the stage design can feel a little empty at times, such as being forced to push a block, very slowly, for much further than should be required, and sometime the checkpoint system sets you back further than you would like. The experience isn’t without humor though as guards can be found in the most random places (how did you get up there?) and often speak a line of dialog that might result in a sly chuckle.
The construction paper presentation has been created with care and easy to see the extra production values that were put in place. The music is also pleasing but can loop just a little bit too often and stage capping boss battles can provide a challenge and some trial and error as you determine which shape does what damage.
If you missed the original release in 2016 on PC, Flat Kingdom: Paper’s Cut Edition on current consoles provides a platforming experience you have played many times before but with the twist of changing shape. The shape changing mechanic is different, especially when presented in a platformer, but it doesn’t necessarily make the game more fun; it can make it tedious at times. If the paper crafted visuals were not created with the higher level of production values, this would have been an average platformer at best. Instead, it is still an average platformer but one that will hold your curiosity for a couple hours until you get tired of switching between shapes.
Also Try: Super Paper Mario (Wii)
Better Than: trying origami in real life
Wait For It: a platformer where you can jump on the heads of enemies regardless of your current form
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com
Please consider supporting me on Patreon.