Despite the name, in Butterfly you play as a rather chunky little caterpillar. However, the critter also suggests he won’t stay like that for long, as he aims to reach the meadow where he will transform into a beautiful Butterfly. If I’m being honest, that’s the absolute minimum I expect from a game featuring an insect embarking on a coming of age adventure. Or maybe I am just thinking too much into it.
Anyway, Butterfly is a no-frills platforming game where you have to collect all the flowers to complete each level. There are 40 to beat in total, and all take place on just the one screen – there’s no scrolling here. Rather oddly, you’ll earn all 1000G that are up for grabs after completing just the first ten levels, which will only take minutes to do.
In Butterfly, it all seems acutely familiar. Visually the game is very reminiscent of Super Mario Bros. 3, right down to the clouds, pipes and “?” blocks. Butterfly is presented in a 4:3 ratio and not especially pretty to look at – the colours don’t quite click, giving the game a bootleg feel. The music is funky enough but it looks more at home being played on your internet browser or mobile phone, if I’m being brutally honest.
The difference here versus other platformers, however, is that your little caterpillar can’t jump. Instead you will need to carefully bounce off enemies and navigate tubes in order to clear all 40 levels. This is where the puzzle element creeps in and if you don’t plan your path through the level it’s easy enough to miss a flower and be unable to go back and collect it. In this instance, you’ll need to restart the level by hitting the “Y” button.
You’ll mainly be using the enemy wasps to navigate through the levels by bouncing off the top of them. However, if you don’t position yourself correctly, it’s easy enough to get stung and killed. You don’t have lives in Butterfly; instead you’ll just be taken back to the start of level to try again.
To aid your platforming exploits, your caterpillar handles with a very floaty feel as you travel through the air, making it fairly easy to land where you need to. You use the left thumbstick to move around, but rather oddly you cannot use the D-pad. As a result, you’ll endlessly enter pipes without meaning to, as the game thinks you are pushing up with the thumbstick. It’s not often a major issue, however it does get very irritating.
Butterfly, on balance, is an easy game to play. The challenge lies in figuring out the order in which to play each level. Some will stump you momentarily, however none will give you too much trouble after a short while when assessing the situation in front of you. There are a couple of levels that look like horrendous creations from Super Mario Maker, but they look more difficult than they are.
Some of the later levels will change up the gameplay a little by introducing “!” blocks and blue birds who will pursue you around the level. The “!” blocks will become transparent when you defeat all the wasps on the level, meaning you will have to again carefully plan your route so as to collect all the flowers. The blue birds cannot be killed, and if they reach you they will instantly polish you off for dinner. Again, these are minor developments to the gameplay, however they remain common platforming elements; there’s nothing here that you won’t have seen before.
Therein lies the main issue with Butterfly. Its simplicity (by today’s standards) means it feels less like a tribute to games of the era and more like a lacklustre attempt to imitate them. This is highlighted by the numerous other games in the genre out there, many of which feel much more polished as a whole.
Butterfly on Xbox is an average puzzle platformer that doesn’t do enough to catch your eye. It will only set you back a few quid, but doesn’t do enough to stand out from the crowd.