Flewn Review: The Old Whale and the Sea

Flewn
By: Gabriel Smetzer

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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” …

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!

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… Read more »

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… Read more »

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.

Michael

“Seriously? I don’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.

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… Read more »

Jonsa

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

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