REVIEW: Fly O’Clock – Jumping the Hour Away
Fly O’Clock is a simple endless jumper developed by the people over at Digital Melody, who also worked on games such as Timberman and Surfingers. Each of these games share the same basic idea of endless game play that will inevitably be cut short by a simple mistake. It is a genre that relies on multiple (or a couple thousand) short attempts to slightly progress further with time and eventually score enough points to unlock new skins or characters to continue the process in a new attire. Simple is the best way to describe the game as a whole, but for what the game lacks in complexity it makes up for in polished game play. It runs well, it plays well and offers a refined jump challenge worth a $1 (more so if on sale).
Developer: Digital Melody
Publisher: Forever Entertainment S. A.
Genre: Endless Jumper, Casual
Release Date: 8th of July, 2016
The game features a pixelated art style for both the characters and environments. Both are well designed and blend together quite well. I am not a fan of the limited soundtrack, but the few tracks that are used are decent without being distracting. The sound effects are also fairly limited, but it helps with focusing on the jump pattern. While the visuals and audio are minimalist, they do serve to enhance the game play by providing a clean look and responsive audio cues.
The fly has only one goal: stay alive. Simply click the left mouse button for the fly to jump from one quarter of the clock face to the next without allowing the minute hand or hour hand to eviscerate it. It is also possible to select the direction using the arrow keys instead of just going with the flow. The hands start off slow and gradually build up momentum as time passes by. There is also a visible pattern to how the hands move, which is visible after playing the game long enough. Should the fly meet the edge of a hand, it is killed and the final jump score is added to the progress meter.
The progress meter is the key to unlocking new insects and animals for later use. While there is no actual figure represented, it is easy to guess based off the distance gained during a single round if a large enough jump count is earned. This is the only real incentive to continue playing outside the limited number of achievements that are unlocked at certain jump milestones. Hats are worn by the bugs at random and each of the stages provide a different looking watch and set of hands, but all of it is there from the start. Progress is strictly cosmetic and game play driven by the desire to beat that last high score.
On the technical side of things, there is nothing to really report. Controls feel fluid and the jump animation is flawless. Menus respond without any issues and I have not experienced any abnormal frame rate drops or crashes. It is a simple game that works well on every front I managed to experience.
The only part of the game that was unplayable was the Online multiplayer option. I spent a good hour waiting to see if I could connect to a game with no success. This is clearly due to the lack of people playing the game online, which is not surprising. I did manage to test the Local multiplayer and found it to work rather well. It is a split screen challenge with a best out of three rule set. It was enjoyable for the few minutes we tried it and the controls worked perfectly. The final jump tally also adds to the progress meter in the same fashion as single player. It is only two players, but it is better than nothing given the current status of the four player Online portion.
Given that these titles are usually meant to be played in short bursts, I tend to see them better suited for mobile devices, which Fly O’Clock is available on as a freemium title. This is not to say the game is ill suited for the PC, it just feels more at home with a touch device than a mouse click. It can be addicting to try and beat a previous high score and the notion of going one more time happens more than it should for something this simple in design. Nevertheless, Fly O’Clock’s transition to PC was successfully implemented and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a quick time waster to play between matches of a FPS or while waiting for a MOBA lobby to fill up.
- Simple design with a nice pixal aesthetic
- Fluid game play that offers enjoyment in small chunks
- No visible technical issues
- It can lose it’s appeal after awhile
- Online multiplayer is dead due to lack of players
- Unable to find anything