Flewn Review: The Old Whale and the Sea

By: Gabriel Smetzer


It’s hard not to be instantly captivated by the screenshots advertising Gabriel Smetzer’s new interactive story called Flewn about an old whale on stilts searching for the ocean. The artwork is definitely the game’s strongest point. It looks almost like something out of a Tim Burton movie.

While it is advertised as a game, there isn’t much game here. It’s primarily an interactive storybook in which you swipe to move the story along. You also rotate your device as the orientation changes, similar to what we’ve seen in Simogo’s Device 6. As you swipe, there is a parallax effect that makes the world come to life. If you move a page back and forth, you can see a fish swim or the whale’s eye blink, whereas it would remain still of you don’t touch the screen. There are also animated bits mixed in, as well as short video clips dispersed throughout the game.


The story is a somber yet uplifting one, as the old whale meets different animals that try to help him out. It’s told in short rhyming sentences and is best read out loud. It’s not a long story and is definitely geared more towards children than adults. But the artwork is truly something to behold. The music was also a highlight for me, maybe even more than the artwork. It captures the sadness and exhaustion of the whale, then the hopefulness when the other creatures join in. It also lifts the story into that of a fable or epic. There’s something very grandiose about the soundtrack.


The only game you’ll see is the optional branching storyline where you take control of a frog who rides a flying bicycle. You need to tap the screen to control him, picking up flies to keep your energy up. I didn’t particularly enjoy this part of the game, as I found it difficult to control him. But fans of games like Flappy Bird might like it. It ties into the rest of the story by showing you the events from the frog’s perspective. Unfortunately, I don’t think this was utilized well, as if you finish the main story before completing the frog’s story, it will set you back to the beginning. It would be nice to be able to pick up where you left off, even if you completed the main story already. Also, the game could have used more fleshing out to make it more interesting. As is, the frog is adorable but I didn’t really enjoy the time I spent playing as him.


I should mention that there is a currently little glitch near the end of the story, but it’s a small one and the developer already submitted a fix for it. I didn’t encounter any other problems with the game.

Flewn Is obviously a work of passion, as the art and music ooze character. I would have liked to see more of it, as it’s fairly short. But it’s the type of thing you pass around and show off to family and friends, and I think it does a good job in that respect. Adults without kids might not get as much use out of it, so keep that in mind. If it sounds like something you’d enjoy, you can download the game here.

You can also watch this short gameplay video I made:

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Lol

    This “game” is a huge waste of money. If I wanted to read a children’s book, I’ll borrow one from my niece. Turning pages is about the same kind of interactivity this game offers (swap turning pages with swiping and off you go).

    Great that you like the passion put into this. It’s still nothing more than a glorified kid’s book. Maybe you should stick to walkthroughs I just hope nobody buys this piece o* **** thanks to this “review” …

    1. AppUnwrapper

      I’m sorry you regret your purchase, but I’m not sure how my review is to blame for that. Did you read the review? I specifically said there’s not much game here and I would have liked to see a longer story, and that it’s more for kids than adults. I’m not sure what in my review made you think it was more than a storybook. Because I said it was made with passion? Well to me, it seems like it was. I still didn’t make it out to be anything more than what it is. Its strong points are the art and music. I also included a video so you can see exactly what it’s like. I’m not sure what more you wanted from me.

    2. Jonsa

      You say “glorified kid’s book” like it’s something bad. It’s actually an awesome thing. For KIDS. The real screw-up here is probably that you thought you were a kid. Go play it with your niece!

    3. Michael

      I think he was trying to stay nice maybe not to get on the “dev’s” bad side. But yea this review is woefully underdeveloped just like the this “game”. 15 minutes of “gameplay” & “story” tops. This is basicly glorifying a Kickstarter and Appstore scam. Look this mess up on Kickstarter and you really see how much the “dev” under-delivered in 3 years time. Its almost criminal.

      I hate when review sites don’t bother putting effort into the reviews. If you aren’t going to be honest don’t bother making a page. Total waste of $4 bucks and the review knows it. Thanks for not trying to help your readers. Do your job and dont complain on your site or Twitter. Its bad enough you basically endorsed this trash but then you play victim? Please stop.

      1. AppUnwrapper

        Seriously? I donΓÇÖt know anything about a Kickstarter or whatever drama surrounds that. I didnΓÇÖt know this was funded on there. I judged the game based on what I played and I really liked the art and music. I wasnΓÇÖt ΓÇ¥trying to stay nice.ΓÇ£ IΓÇÖm not really sure what else you want from me. I didnΓÇÖt say ΓÇ¥this game is amazing and you should buy it.ΓÇ£ I pointed out its flaws, talked about how it worked and mentioned what I liked. I even included a gameplay video so you can see for yourself what itΓÇÖs like. I donΓÇÖt think itΓÇÖs an app that should absolutely be avoided, as some people will enjoy what it offers. So if you were looking for that from me in this situation, IΓÇÖm sorry, but there was enough here that I liked that I wouldnΓÇÖt outright tell people to avoid it. I mentioned several times that itΓÇÖs more for kids than adults, mentioned there isnΓÇÖt much game and that what game is there is woefully underdeveloped. I also said itΓÇÖs short and I would have liked to see more. IΓÇÖm sorry I didnΓÇÖt write a 30,000 word review to make that clearer.

        I purposely donΓÇÖt score my reviews because I want people to actually read what I wrote instead of jumping to the score. Did you actually read the review before buying or just buy it because I wrote about it?

      2. Jonsa

        Michael, I think you’ll find that most people think the game is good and well worth the money. I get it if you’re a kickstarter backer and angry because of the delay, but that’s really not an issue here. The reviewer has to take the game at face value, not dig around after some dirt from the production process. If that’s what you think a game review is about, you need to educate yourself. And if you think defending a point of view is “playing the victim”, I seriously wonder what age you are because you sure as hell sound like a whiny child.

  2. Gabriel

    App UnWrappers review is honest and clear here. Even a walkthrough was included. How could this be considered deceiving? If you are annoyed at your purchase, get a refund, rather than taking it out on this review.

  3. Michael

    “Seriously? I donΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗t know anything about a Kickstarter or whatever drama surrounds that. ”

    Shows the effort put in. Thanks for proving my point for me.
    I read the review. Bought the game. Hated it, spent two seconds looking it up and realized wow.. what a let down to the backers. Thank the good lord in heaven I didn’t back this.

    Don’t worry I wont be coming back to this (fluff ad-platform)”site”.

    Yes the refund request has already been applied for.

    1. Gabriel

      As the developer of Flewn, I can tell you that despite a few of my backers getting annoyed with the delay, overwhelmingly they have been supportive and positive about this project.
      It’s my first app, and I learned a lot about project management, I taught myself to code properly and refined my art in the process. Painful as those lessons were, they provide me a lot of value going forward. That is the supportive spirit of my Kickstarter.
      Flewn is looking for its audience and hardcore gamers are not it. I have changed the category from Games to Books so its more representative of what it is.

    2. Jonsa

      Oh, no! Don’t leave. We’ll miss your intelligent and thoughtful comments.

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