Fledgling Heroes (Switch) Review
Surprisingly colorful with unexpected animation quality
Level editor has a content available, some unlockables found during the campaign
Dialog often rhymes and is great for young kids
Doesn’t have that addictive hook for extended play sessions
Fledgling Heroes is essentially a Flappy Bird or Jetpack Joyride clone that is level based instead of being an endless runner (although there are endless stages too). Even though there are nearly 100 levels, an over world map, a colorful child-friendly art style, quality animations, and numerous playable birds with their own play style, Fledgling Heroes is a decent game but isn’t as addicting as other runners/flappers.
From the opening moment, it is easy to see that this 2D bird flapper was created with care thanks to a surprising amount of animation and character detail found in the visual presentation. For a $10 digital download, it is actually impressive that this much attention to detail was included in the final product.
There is a certain weight to each playable bird that takes some adjusting time. Some fall a bit faster, some can glide more fluidly, and some gain altitude more than others. The penguin, for example, can swim in water while the parrot strictly stays above ground but can bounce on the heads of lizards, the main enemies found throughout the campaign. Most stages are very short, usually around thirty to sixty seconds long, so players can cruise at their own pace. However, each stage is filled with optional and mandatory items to collect. In order to achieve the best score, everything will need to be collected and objectives met, like taking out a specific number of enemies before reaching the goal. The golden feathers act as the keys to unlocking more levels on the world map. Luckily, collecting the necessary ones are not too challenging so the majority of the game can be seen in a casual playthrough but completionists will need to dedicate some time to see it all. Thanks to the short stage length, this is not as tedious as suggested and there is a pretty generous checkpoint system. Stages are more than just flapping to the right, also. There are also boss battles, some endless stages, and even some race-to-the-finish style stages which offer a nice variety.
The level editor is rather robust and even features online support for downloading and posting. New level elements can also be found in the campaign, encouraging players to experiment with both modes while rewarding each other. Again, for a $10 download, having an included feature like this offers some significant value.
Even though Fledging Heroes checks off all the right boxes, it is best played in short bursts and doesn’t have the same lasting, addictive charm as other endless runners that constantly throw numerous objectives, random-but-fair-ness, and a wealth of unlockables at the player. Here, things are unlocked at a slower pace and require dedication to fully enjoy so the sense of accomplishment is not as high. For example, if you do not like making your own stages, then a big part of the experience will be missed. The presentation, value, and thoughtfulness is top tier but the gameplay eventually grows a bit stale after the initial wow-factor has worn off.
Feels Like: a glorified mobile game
Also Try: Super Mario Run (Mobile)
Wait For It: the return of Flappy Bird