-Onwards towards victory my winged brethren! We will prevail, as long as our wings will carry us!
-Permission to speak sir.
-Permission granted private Droppings.
-We have a slight problem Sarge.
-No mountain is high enough to stop us private Droppings.
-Actually, we can’t fly Sarge.
-What! We are the Flying Soldiers for crying out loud!
Non Flying Soldiers could pretty much be about anything that doesn’t fly. For some strange reason this is all about birds that are as flightless as me. Well they are lighter, and given a trampoline they fly a whole lot higher than me. To me Non Flying Soldiers could just as well have been about a bunch of dogs, cats or even fish. But now I am stuck with these birds that can flap about for a short distance given a trampoline or ramp.
Each level has the same objective: get the birds from one cardboard box to another at the end. The gameplay is more or less a mashup between Lemmings, and Casey´s Contraptions. You can take your time placing objects on the obstacle course, but once you release the birds the game goes into real time. For the first out of the three level packs you only watch the birds traversing the level. Later levels allow you to control gates, and timed obstacles.
The birds follow the path laid out, but you can redirect them using fans and sandbag obstacles. To complete a level a required number of birds have to survive. It doesn’t end there though, as there are three medals to collect. These often require more planning, and a whole lot more tweaking to get distances right. All levels have timed goals, and these are generally quite hard to beat later on. Finally there is the odd coin to collect to use in the Arcade machine.
The gameplay is quite fun initially, but later on when there are many objects to move about it can feel a bit samey. It is a simple process to move an object by tapping it , and then dragging it. Or double tap to remove it completely. With a limited number of objects to use most levels are still quite easy. The hardest part is judging distance, and placement of medals when laying out the course. The camera perspectives used is not that good individually, and it is a nuisance switching between them.
The Arcade machine I mentioned earlier lets you play using credits earned in the main game. As you don’t have any from the start the idea of playing the Arcade is tempting. Once I had gathered a load of coins I tried it, and I was utterly disappointed. It is a poor gallery shooter with uninteresting enemies, and uneven pacing.
The presentation in Non Flying Soldiers is cute, and I really like the enlarged everyday items such as nails used as obstacles. Overall impressive, albeit slightly boring given that the subject matter could have been edgier. The loading screens hint that there has been more provocative ideas for the game that didn’t make it into the finished product. The music is marching music in classical war game style that gets tedious quickly.
Non Flying Soldiers is a neat entry in the physics puzzle department that combines some of the urgency of Lemmings with a casual gizmo puzzler. There are issues however with the camera angles, the lack of variation and the short game life at less than four hours. Still it is a mighty fun game initially, and a brilliant introduction to physics puzzler for the younger crowd.
Non Flying Soldiers is out now as a universal app for $0.99 (£0.69). Get it on the