In the latest game from Eastasiasoft – Blow & Fly – we’ll be playing as an out-of-water pufferfish who must survive by using blasts of air to fling himself into a giant toilet at the end of each level.
It’s a novel concept that is remarkably similar to that in another recently released Eastasiasoft title – Explosive Candy World – which asked players to move their character using, you guessed it, exploding candy. Like with that game, Blow & Fly is incredibly easy to pick up. All you need to do is line up your fish, then blow air and send him flying to where he needs to go.
It sounds simple. And that’s because it is.
Unfortunately, it’s not executed particularly well. As more and more obstacles are introduced, problems with the movement mechanics begin to rear their head. You’ll find that movement is just a little too finicky and unpredictable for the precision platforming that Blow & Fly demands.
At times, it seems that two identical jumps will offer vastly different results. It’s tolerable in the early stages where there is no real threat of dying, but when you start having to deal with spike traps, bottomless pits and chained jumps, it all becomes rather tedious. Expect to die.
To be fair, the game does give you a ghost fish that will show you the trajectory of your jump before you make it. It’s a welcome addition at times, but doesn’t really do much in the grand scheme of things.
In fact, you can only use it effectively on levels where you’re afforded the luxury of being able to actually keep your fish still and line up your jumps. And even then, you need to make sure that the fish hasn’t rolled ever so slightly before jumping, because it’ll have dramatic consequences on your trajectory and usually end with you dying.
As you reach the later stages you’ll be expected to chain jumps together or jump whilst rolling, which makes the mechanic redundant altogether. You’re really on your own here as it’s also incredibly hard to line up your jumps whilst on the move. You’ll end up dying more than a few times because you tapped the left stick trying to line up your next jump, and the fish overcorrected massively and went falling into a pit or spike trap.
The only real saving grace is that levels are short and restarts instant . . .
Beyond the standard platforming fare, there are secret levels to find too. These offer a nice little distraction from the main game, and include things like a fishy version of basketball (aptly named Fishball) or a level set entirely under zero-gravity conditions.
Finding these is no mean feat, as they either take a fair bit of effort to reach or are actually really well hidden, but you’ll be rewarded for your efforts with some new fish to play as. However, these are purely cosmetic and do little, if anything, to encourage you to dive back into the game to find those secrets you missed.
As to be expected from any game released under the Eastasiasoft umbrella, Blow & Fly is a pretty easy completion. There are seventy-two levels in the game, but you’ll only need to finish the first twenty-four to earn the full the 1000 Xbox Gamerscore. Expect to have done that within an hour.
Overall, Blow & Fly is a bog-standard precision platformer that does nothing to distinguish itself from the hundreds of others on the market. Its core mechanic is novel but isn’t really executed that well, and the finicky movement too often leads to frustration. You’ll get maybe an hour of entertainment out of this one and at £4.19, it’s probably worth looking elsewhere.
Blow & Fly can be downloaded from the Xbox Store