There was once a very successful island resort known as BirdTown, whose native population – as you might have already guessed – was comprised entirely of highly intelligent avians. This situation – however – was not optimal at all for the Great Moustermind, the rodent leader of a nearby island that was none too pleased with all the traffic that BirdIsland had been diverting away. To rectify this situation he used all of his diabolical mousy intellect to concoct up a truly evil scheme: the invention of a special chemical agent that would freeze all of BirdTown under a solid block of ice!
As the denizens of the now frozen tundra began to blackout, one of the feathery folk remembered a mishap that occurred when the stork had been taking him to meet his parents. Apparently the bird-brained baby delivery service wasn’t quite up to the assigned task, especially seeing as how the newborn egg sort of got dropped straight into an active volcano instead of his parents’ front porch. Naturally, when the rapidly blacking out avian remembered this, he realized the only way he could have ever survived such a mishap was if he himself were somehow in part related to the legendary phoenix.
So it is with his newly discovered flame powers that he breaks free from the icy tomb with the mission of saving his entire village, as well as stopping the dastardly Moustermind once and for all! Such goes the premise of Brute Farce’s debut iTunes release of Flyro (out now, $0.99), a vertical-based endless runner with far more in the way of objectives than is normally seen for the genre. Even better is the fact that – unlike the bulk of its brethren – this particular endless runner comes completely free of IAPs of any kind, meaning that Flyro is utterly devoid of coercively mean-spirited level design.
Being able to flawlessly perform actions quickly is an absolute must for any well made endless runner title, and in this regard the flaming avian’s adventure is certainly no slouch. You begin playing the game by putting your thumb down on the bottom of the screen just below the feathery hero, after which the fiery half-breed will fly directly above to where ever you move your finger. This interface is extremely responsive, and will deftly move him left or right – with exacting pixel perfect accuracy – no matter how quickly you might happen to be sliding your thumb at any give moment.
Whenever you release your finger, the feathered adventurer immediately ignites himself into a blazing ball of destruction that rockets mercilessly forward until you touch the screen again. While in this flaming form your bird will move through anything wooden much like the proverbial hot knife through a pad of butter, but anything made of metal will still bring his journey to a bitter end. Since you can’t steer in the slightest while in your blazing bullet mode, and furthermore fly forward at mach speeds, learning to effectively use these phoenix powers is at the heart of Flyro’s gameplay.
With these controls you will be tasked with attempting to collect coins and power-ups, as well as a large variety of obstacles that include both floating sky mines and giant boxing gloves. More important than merely surviving – though – are the mission goals you will be tasked with, asking you to boldly pull off various insane feats that generally involve flirting with death in varied ways. Rather than providing you with special currency to spend on upgrades – for Flyro has no such things – they instead serve a far more important purpose: completing these missions causes the ice all around BirdTown to slowly melt, thus foiling the Moustermind’s grand scheme!
Speaking of the Maniacal Moustermind himself, he serves as perhaps one of the game’s greatest features: both before and after each run he will taunt you, and he has a metric butt load of jibes ready to dish out. While he has plenty of generic insults for whenever they are needed, he furthermore has a ton of case specific barbs to dole out whenever you either die in an unusual manner or finally complete a task. Once when I managed to complete a mission to blaze through 10 coins – all without missing any – he snidely launched this dismissive at me, “Oh, so I see you’re burning money now. What are you, a communist?!”
Anyways, all in all Flyro is a very solid endless runner package – further aided by an actual plot goal to help provide motivation for endless replays – that also is rather nice looking. It’s not just the pretty art style that makes this game noteworthy, but furthermore the little touches here and there that truly set it apart from various other similar titles on the iTunes marketplace. My particular favorite is that whenever you are moving left or right the bird actually tilts and banks with the motion, or things like the feathers that get knocked off whenever he narrowly misses a collision with an obstacle.
The only downside to the package, especially when compared to some of its compatriots, is that Flyro has much less in the way of scenery and obstacles than many other offerings on the iOS marketplace. Unlike a title such as Pitfall! (our review), where reaching new distances leads the player to seeing things they haven’t encountered before, the level content in Flyro repeats far more heavily. I do, however, want to reiterate that – unlike many of those other games – Flyro is 100% free of either IAPs or conniving difficulties designed to drive players to want to buy their way out of situations in the first place.
iFanzine Verdict: Flyro is a well made endless runner – completely devoid of IAPs – that features extremely responsive controls, as well as something unheard of for the genre: an actual story ending to work towards. Then on top of it all there’s also the Moustermind and his many various barbs that he’ll sling out each time you fail, or even when you succeed, which can go on for an extremely long time without ever repeating. The chief downside is that the level content in Flyro repeats a lot more heavily than in some other endless runner titles, a fact that might bore some people straight of their minds.