Offspring Fling is a game about a poor forest creature that has misplaced all of her children. She’ll have to fight her way through over 100 levels of action puzzle platforming to get them all back home. There’s danger around every corner, but she won’t rest until her family is safe again.
What We Think:
The first thing you notice about Offspring Fling is that the main character bears a striking—one might even say infringing—resemblance to Pikachu, of Pokémon fame. The second thing is that, between the graphics, the music, and the general game design, Offspring Fling is a game someone forgot to make for the Nintendo. Fair warning: if manga or platform jumpers get on your nerves, you’ll want to steer clear of this game.
On the other hand, if you don’t mind the cartoonishness and enjoy classic platformers, there’s a lot here for you. The mechanics of the game are pretty simple, simple enough in fact, that you can pretty easily figure out unexplained abilities as they come up; you have to get your chicks from wherever they are in the room to the exit, and you do this by picking them up and throwing them. You basically use your kids to press buttons, block expanding stone columns, and generally solve puzzles in an effort to get them all out the door in the least amount of time possible, which might remind some readers with siblings of the weekday mornings of their youth.
The challenge comes from the ever-present time goals. Although you can take as long as you want to finish a level (and most levels are short enough to finish in under 30 seconds on the first try), you can’t see all the game has to offer unless you complete levels under the goal time, which requires a good deal of precision and timing. And, if that’s not enough, you can download ghosts of other players’ best times for each level to compete against.
There are an unbelievable number of unique levels in the game (more than 100), and unlockables for the completionists. There is even a level editor, which, given the dedicated fanbase the game already has, promises to add many more levels from the community. Although the levels are surprisingly brief at first, the sometimes punishingly quick goal times require many replays to meet. If you don’t get frustrated, you can expect many hours of entertainment here.
Offspring Fling is a great platformer in the classic style that offers a lot of challenge for hardcore retro gamers and incorporates the community in a way that provides new and interesting content. In particular, the ghost replays offer an interesting take on multiplayer competition. Although the rough edges can get a little tedious, the game’s retro design and unapologetic affection for manga come across as charming rather than pretentious, and the game play is challenging enough to stay interesting.
This is not a game for the casual audience, however, nor will it appeal to people who don’t enjoy the old-school platformer experience. There were a few moments playing this game when I got frustrated enough over missing one particular jump that I threw in the towel. Still, the game makes it easy to walk away from a challenging level and come back when you’re ready. And, more dedicated enthusiasts of the genre will appreciate the “speed-run” element of the game reminiscent of that found in Super Meat Boy. So, if you’ve ever recorded your best time on a Mario level, or even if you find yourself looking for old NES platformers online, this is a game worth buying.