This is an ongoing list where I attempt to do the following: Play, Complete, and Rank every video game in the known universe in order to finally answer the age old question "What is the greatest game of all time?" For previous entries find the links on the attached spreadsheet.
How did I do?
|Special Ending||You Betcha|
Ok…Ok…Ok… Honesty is the best policy and I am just going to be upfront when I say that this game is bad and may be in position to be at the absolute bottom of this list. I haven’t decided on that placement yet, we will see when we get there together, but regardless, I apologize for giving readers of the blog whiplash from going from a top 5 game to a bottom 5 game in back to back write-ups. I have talked many times about my purchase habits on the switch, especially when it comes to indie games. Its not like I’m stabbing blindly in the dark and buying every cheap game I can, and then being surprised when they are bad. I look at screenshots, review trailers, read descriptions and see what they were originally charging before the sale, and usually expect to pick out games that are either mediocre or better then expected, or your 5-7 out of 10 games. I know that there always exists a possibility that I somehow find that 8-10 game, or that I find that 1-4 game, but I like to believe those chances are low. Ignoring this fact, my previous lowest scoring game was one I expected to like as it had things that I find enjoyable in games: Turn based, Tactical, Procedurally generated. It even had good reviews (something I looked up after I beat it), but I absolutely hated it, for a multiple of reasons, however I don’t blame my purchasing decision. It hit the right criteria, and in multiple universes I would have made the same decision. However, I have no explanation for this game, Flying Soldiers.
Flying Soldiers is… well I guess it is a Lemmings game mixed with Angry Birds, which if that doesn’t sell you on this game, well then literally nothing else I write will. You play as, God… I guess, but that’s not really clear, but it’s also not important. The game is divided into 45ish levels that all ask you to do the same thing, get your birds (actual birds) to the end of this straight line race. However, your birds are incredibly stupid and they will just run in a straight line, regardless if it means death or getting stuck behind an obstacle. You, prior to them starting their run, are then tasked with solving the problem of how each bird is going to make it to the finish line. You, glorious you, have access to a number of tools or items that you can lay down that will help your birds make their straight line run successful. You can put down a springboard to make them jump gaps in the floor, or slanted walls that can move them to a different lane (there are always 3 lanes each level), or perhaps you might want a speed burst floor piece to make them run faster. Now for each level, you are usually only given some pieces to the puzzle (maybe one level prevents you from using springboards), but you are always given a limit on the amount of pieces you can actually put down, and I will let you in on a secret, if a level only lets you put down 4 pieces, you will need to put down all 4 pieces to beat the level.
So you survey the level, before starting it, place the pieces you think will help your birds survive and then start the level and watch your handiwork. Once the simulation is started, you are at the whims of your bird (except one, which has a roll button), you can stop the simulation because you realized you missed something or speed it up if you are confident of your success. For added “fun” there are three collectable medals you can get in every level, but they are not required unless you want the true ending (which I got). When the game decides to ramp up the difficulty, which only really exists if you are going for all collectables, the game just requires more exact placement. You have to watch to see what exact space a bird will land after being launched with a springboard, so you know where to put the trampoline piece to keep them in the air. Then repeat to see where that trampoline bounce puts the bird, so you know where the third piece goes. It is a very tedious and not very enjoyable, but then again, that could describe the entire game.
Did I mention that this game has all the birds taking part in a war, for some reason? All the birds where helmets, are called things like commando bird, and soldier bird, but there is no reason for this. We never find out who is the enemy the birds are facing, or if you, God themselves, is just making your pet birds run through an obstacle course for your own enjoyment. Also the birds can’t fly, like one of the only things associated with birds "flight" is taken away. So, we don't know why they cant fly, don’t know why the war motif, and don't know who the enemies (real or imagined) are, clearly this game isn't a story game, which can be fine if the rest of it is fun. Which means, I won’t judge it against not explaining any of its choices, and will instead judge it based on how incredibly boring the actual gameplay is. There are maybe 3 “environments” over the course of 40ish levels, and even using that is a stretch, because the environment doesn't impact anything in the game. The environments equate to a different desktop background, all that matters are the same three lanes that exist in every level.
Each 5 or so levels you are introduced to a new item that you can place on the board, and then proceed to play 5 levels where that item is the main focus for all your solutions. Which if you are doing the math at home, essentially leaves you with 5-10 levels where you are actually given the full suite of options in order to solve the puzzle. Its not exactly 35 levels of tutorials and 10 real levels, but it’s also not NOT that too.
As you progress you get little cut-scenes for all the birds, and if you manage to save them all and get all collectables for playing the whole game, you get a “super cool” cutscene where you get to see what happened to the birds from the previous cut-scene. For instance, and I can’t stress how absolutely, side-splitting, rolling on the floor hilarious it is to see a fat bird fall in a trap door, only to unlock the good ending and see a helicopter struggle to lift it out of the same trap door. My lord, these are comedy writers at their peak. Now, I'm just being mean, but I don't understand what we are doing here. Why is this final cutscene locked behind getting a 100% of this game, if you want to do a closing cutscene make it interesting. Show the enemy in one cutscene, show your birds going to "war."
If you made it this far, you may be asking yourself… “Why did you play this garbage?” or “Why are you so hard on this game?” Which are both valiant questions. To answer the first one, well I played it, because I bought it and started it.. and part of my goal with this list is to actually finish games that I start. Trust me, it wasn’t a month’s long time commitment to finish this game, most levels can probably be finished in under 5 minutes a piece so maybe you are playing this game 2 hours total. I can’t answer the question, why did I buy this… because I don’t know. All the signs were there from the start, but I missed them and clearly thought the game was going to be something it wasn’t.
To answer the 2nd question…. Because there is nothing good to say about this game. I truly in my heart of hearts, believe that I can find the fun in bad games. I can play Revenge of the Bird King, and see that despite it being a poorly made, buggy mess, there is something interesting in a game trying to borrow from Zelda 2, something we basically don’t see at all. I will sit down and play any Artifex Mundi game, and realize that they are made on a shoestring budget with absolute bonkers plots and puzzles that require so much back tracking, but there is enjoyment on just sitting down and solving some quirky puzzles. However, with Flying Soldiers, I can’t find that fun. Lemmings had some truly challenging puzzles that tested your mind and fingers, Angry Birds became a popular giant because its basic gameplay was addicting and a great time waster, but what about Flying Soldiers. It doesn’t have inventive puzzles, a story, good art or music, and it doesn’t pose any real challenge to you, outside 1 or 2 collectables. When I talked about Golf Peaks, I could argue that it suffered because it was a mobile game ported to a system, and that the game feels better on mobile, when you play it once in awhile waiting at a doctors office, instead of continuously for an hour or more. In doing research I saw that there was a mobile game called "Non-flying soldiers" which perhaps this game is a remake of, but in reading about that mobile game (from 2012) it sounds like it was more interesting on mobile. More interesting levels, a side game, maybe some unlockables, yet somehow when bringing it to consoles nearly 8 years later, they stripped out a lot. I question why it was ported at all, and so much later. Clearly work was done in the 8 years to bring it to consoles, but were people clamoring for a sequel to Non-flying soldiers? Was that mobile game a huge hit that needed a re-visit?. Its one of a very select few games, that I didn’t just archive when I beat, but straight up deleted, even having the 1kb icon file stay on my switch was too much. I truly do want to find something positive to say about this game, and after typing all of this up, the best I could do was “Birds might be underutilized video game protagonists.”
Is this the greatest game of all time?: Of course..... it's not
Where does it rank: I knew in my heart that his game was either going to be bottom, or 2nd from the bottom and I just have to debate if I like it better then All Walls Must Fall. The answer to that is, I don't. All Walls must Fall angered me. It was a demo pitch that somehow got made into a game, without adapting it to be a full game. It had one location, an incomprehensible story, a drab look, and a troll ending where the game wanted you to play it again, without a single kill. All of that being said, I can see the kernel of an idea that the game promises and see the possibility of a good game. It didn't execute, but thats why it was the bottom for so long. When it comes to Flying Soldiers, this is a game that I can't see the same kernel, its a mobile game but not made for mobile platforms, it's a lemmings game that doesn't have the challenge or the confidence to let users have the freedom to use all the items. It's a bird/war motif that doesn't even attempt to explain itself. It is the worst game of this list and it sits alone at
Anyone looking for it: here is the link to the list and more if you are interested in following along with me (this is not a self promotion).Here. I added links on the spreadsheet for quick navigation. Now if you missed a blog of a game you want to read about, you can get to it quickly, rather than having to scroll through my previous blogs wondering when it came up.
Thanks for listening