Developer: Paul Cuisset
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, Mac, PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One
Gene(s): Action, Adventure
Flashback is the classic sci-fi platform adventurer from 1992, It was available on the Amiga, Megadrive and SNES just to name a few platforms. It has been brought back in the classic form which looks identical to the original version and an upgraded polished with a few extra features. The original Flashback was a standout title when first released, it was a mix of puzzle, platformer set in a sci-fi era. It was known for being extremely difficult and challenging. It stood out from the crowd between the mix of graphics, game design and sci-fi themes.
The 25th-anniversary edition brings it back in its original glory with all the same challenges, it’s tough and frustrating. I think the most obvious thing that will hit you as a gamer is the level of precision required to play the game, for a modern gamer, you will find the controls clunky and the majority of the gameplay is affected by this. There is a real frustration that the character doesn’t react to your commands, this is where the learning curve is quite extreme. As there are two versions of the game original and the updated version, you will find tutorials and the ability to rewind gameplay in the updated version, the original isn’t forgiving at all. From my perspective, the insane level of difficulty and the very realistic character design and movement made this a stand out game. The addition of the sci-fi elements really combined the game fantastically well. For someone not travelling down nostalgia lane, I would recommend the updated version as the rewind and tutorials will make the game more enjoyable and reduce the learning curve of the game. It makes it a less frustrating experience. Those who want to bathe in nostalgia should play the original version.
The game level design is intriguing (when the game was made), the levels consist of a series of frames connected in a sequence, in essence, a series of stills which you navigate but the interesting aspect are enemies can also traverse the series of frames too and follow you which wouldn’t happen in other games around this time from what I can remember. Flashback has a key number of items that made it unique and ultimately very successful – game design, realistic movement, difficulty level and the transition from different stages in each level.
It’s hard to judge Flashback against the current crop of similar titles, it was made in a different era and gaming landscape. It does a lot well but from a modern gaming perspective even I found controls clunky and responsive which was frustrating. Modern games are more complex due hardware and software updates and the progression of software over the last 20 years. Flashback is enjoyable but very challenging, I really enjoyed it from a nostalgic perspective and to see how it compares to the modern game however it does show it’s age. If you are looking for a nostalgic kick this an excellent game. I’m not sure if modern gamers will derive the same feeling of warmth from playing it. I would still recommend a play-through, it’s a classic.