Annalynn is a few years old now on the PC but I’ve only just got round to it now it’s got a Switch release.
This past year or so has seen a handful of really nice arcade homages make their way on to the Switch so I’ve been feeling a bit spoiled rotten of late, all of them – Annalynn included – have been absolutely gorgeous looking too.
I certainly don’t mind games looking as scrappy as all get out (in fact, I can’t get enough of scrappy or strange looking games!) but I’m certainly not going to complain about something looking too nice either, right? I like pretty games!
Annalynn isn’t the hardest game to pick up either, it’s pretty familiar stuff all told. Jump between platforms, don’t get caught by the nasties, collect all the gems to get to the next stage.
Having spent quite some time with it now, it plays a bit more like an earlier home computer game than the kind of game that started life in the arcade (there’s definitely a bit of the old “imagine if home computers could have matched the look of arcade games more” to it, and that’s kinda nice, really.), it doesn’t quite have the immediacy and flow of a coin gobbler, settling instead for a more sedate and measured pace.
Difficulty wise, it’s tough enough but not too taxing or brutal either. In the words of Goldilocks, “this one is just right”.
Which is a pretty good summary of how I feel about the entire package, I guess — Annalynn is just right. It looks great, sounds good, plays well. That’ll do me.
I’ve been reading a lot of nineties videogame mags these past few weeks and as anyone around at the time can confirm, there really is rather a fixation on things always pushing forward -on the next new thing – around that time.
I mean, videogames nearly always has a fixation on the new but the nineties were all that and more so. A decade where a game would get puzzling looks if it didn’t at least do something different.
To be honest, I found it exhausting then and I find it exhausting now. No wonder I meandered off for a bit to do just about anything else.
One of the joys of the past decade, for me at least, has been watching originality become an almost useless metric as the sheer volume of games released pretty much guarantees that folks will be working on similar games in their respective genres.
To the surprise of no-one who thinks about this for even a cursory amount of time, this hasn’t come at the cost of exploring new things – we’re still making remarkable progress in that regard – instead it’s allowed folks to put their own personal (or impersonal!) stamp on things. It’s allowed players who enjoy certain genres to rarely find themselves short of different games to play in those genres.
It’s a ridiculously abundant time. I say it often but I really do feel rather spoiled by it all. It’s nice!
I grabbed Flynn: Son Of Crimson on a whim. I can’t say I knew anything about it or that I even read the store page properly before grabbing it! I had fifteen quid left over from grabbing the eldest something, it looked kinda pretty, I figured “why not, eh” and *click* bought.
I don’t mean this in any derogatory sense whatsoever, it looked like a safe purchase. This sort of platformer usually is (and I should know because I keep buying the things).
There is always the platform game curse to consider – that perhaps there will be a point where the skill and effort the game requires is more than I can manage – but for the most part, I’ve usually had more than my money’s worth at that point anyway and there’s always another one to play.
At the time of writing I’m around 30% in (according to the save data) and it hasn’t had me beat for skill yet. I’m not sure how much that is in time spent as I’m forever having to put games down for a bit to go and tend to the kids or whatever so time is pretty much meaningless to me by now. It’s a while, anyway.
Mind, I wouldn’t say the game has a difficulty curve as much as it’s just a bit all over the shop from stage to stage. Sometimes it can be a bit all over the shop within a single stage. The consistently wonderful art and all round polish hide a game that’s rougher round the edges than you’d perhaps expect. Certainly more than I expected at times.
Dips and spikes aside, if you’ve played a modern indie platformer that isn’t fixated on brutalising you then you’ll have a fairly good idea what to expect of Flynn.
A world map, the odd village or stop off hub to chill in, discreet stages with the usual sort of puzzle platforming trickery at play. Fiddle with switches to open doors, move platforms and all the usual stuff, all punctuated by the odd moment of not too strenuous combat. Hit things, get gems, find the odd secret pathway. You know the drill.
It is very much a “if you’ve played and liked something similar and fancy more of that sort of thing, here you go” kind of game. It’s pretty in the same way a fair amount of these games tend to be. No surprises, basically. Oh, and it has a big doggo that’s really cute. Or at least, you might find it cute. It’s not a cat so it does nothing for me. (Meanie – Ed)
In summary, it’s a genre piece and a perfectly fine one at that. I’m not sure I’ve got it in me to be especially excited over it but I have been comfortable with it. I’ve mainly been having a relaxed time with it, give or take the odd niggle with the odd level here and there, and most definitely don’t regret the almost random purchase.
That said, they should take the dog out and replace it with a really big cat (or a really small cat. Just less dog, more cat in general). Cats improve everything, especially videogames.
Grabbed this on a whim because I really enjoyed Zeroptian Invasion (one of those games where I’ve had a draft post sitting there about it for a while that I never seem to get round to finishing up) and well, it looked good. No better reason, really.
And it is good! Less arcade and more a home computer take on arcade games (absolutely not a slight), it’s a single screen game where you race between platforms to pop balloons, avoid the nasties and… that’s it, actually. That’s the gig.
Each screen sees you presented with some new variations of baddies to keep an eye out for and it’s all very, very videogame. Some go up, some go down, some wrap round, some are big meanies and I’m telling teacher.
It’s tough and I reckon slightly tuned to “person who wrote the game” so you’ll need a bit of speed and quick reflexes to get out of a level alive. The red balloon that takes slightly longer to pop can be quite a nerve wracking proposition and frankly, I’m not speaking to the Bomberman style explosives as they’re just rude.
It’s pretty brilliant though! Absolutely enjoying myself playing it, cussing at it and I dunno, might get a balloon fetish or something, see how it goes. Okay, maybe not that.
Proper recommendation for Tamiku though, it’s the good stuff.
It’s on consoles courtesy of Ratalaika, I’ve been playing the PS4 version and it’s good. You can also find it on Itch and Steam for the PC.