Flat Kingdom Paper’s Cut Edition is a 2D puzzle/platformer centered around rescuing a princess and stopping a thief named Rex from stealing six jewels. They are said to maintain order in the world, so the king of the land has tasked our character, Flat, with both stopping the thief and rescuing his daughter. Our pint-sized hero has the unique ability to change into three shapes, them being a Circle, a Triangle, and a Square. A strange sounding power but in this world, is undeniably useful since every enemy you’ll face has a particular shape, and everyone has a weakness such as Triangles being capable of destroying Circles.
There are enemies inhabiting much of the lands you’ll be traveling though you gain nothing from defeating them other than preventing them from harming you later on. The unique feature that allows you to transform into shapes also extends into puzzles and how you move around the environments themselves. Your Triangle form can run very fast, in a Circle, you can double jump, and as a Square, you have enough weight to smash platforms or walk underwater. Learning the ins and outs of your three forms is vital as well as a very fun feature that is not merely a gimmick. The further you progress, the more skills will be unlocked for them adding further variety.
As you can tell from the pictures, this has a nice paper crafted art style to it with tons of color. I really love the look of the game, and each level offers a unique theme to change things up, from colorful forests to platforming inside active volcanoes. Scattered around the levels are the king’s soldiers who serve as checkpoints for when you succumb to enough damage be it from hazards or enemies. It is a cute looking game but don’t be fooled, it offers a decent challenge, and you will need them. There are no limits to the amount of times you can respawn nor are there penalties, so it is charitable in that regard.
Each of the soldiers has something witty to say if you speak with them to make them appear to be more than glorified checkpoint flags. As for the collectibles, there are gold coins and scriptures containing lore to give you a reason to venture off the beaten path. Coins are used to purchase extra heart slots to add to your overall health meaning you’ll definitely want to be picking those up as a few extra hits can make the difference between defeat or victory. Scriptures, on the other hand, are useless individually though I’m sure it unlocks something if you collect every single one of them. Even though the game is linear, there are actually side quests that span between levels. Finding a certain item may be the key to solving a problem in another level such as finding bait for a fisherman.
At the end of each level, you will find yourself facing off against a boss far larger than yourself. These will require both finding their weak point and dodging their attacks long enough to strike when there is an opening. They only take three hits to take down though finding out how to damage them is the real challenge. That goes for all enemies as well, once you know how to defeat them it is effortless, but you are going to have to risk some health to find out how. Like wondering what shape a walrus is until you realize you’ve been approaching it the wrong way. The foes you will be facing either have preset routes and actions or have what I call doppelganger syndrome where they will copy your movement 1 for 1. The latter can be a tad annoying on some occasions, particularly when you are trying to jump onto a ledge.
Flat Kingdom is quite a stellar title all around, but it unfortunately drops the ball hard near the ending. To get to the last area of the game, you must replay previous levels to search for four hidden platforms. I’m not a fan of filler, but that is hardly the end of the world. After you spent a considerable amount of time being bored out of your mind searching for them, you will find out that the last area is simply a boss fight arena. Fine then, you proceed to beat many of the game’s bosses over again having just played old levels, and you will finally face Rex. This is where the real kicker comes in, not only is it a fight entirely reliant on luck but it is also glitched. Rex will occasionally run to the right and never return at random meaning you have to restart the fight. I’ve repeated the battle countless times until I lucked out and defeated it before it randomly glitched out again.
All of those end game issues in succession from one another deal quite a combo and did affect my enjoyment of the title. The reveal and last boss fight was cool but hardly worth all that trouble. So the real question is would I still suggest Flat Kingdom after all that. Well, yes I would. It is such a fun and unique game with enough challenge to keep you invested. While not enjoyable by any means chewing into the game right before it reached the finish line, it doesn’t mean everything prior is suddenly any less good. If you are not a completionist, then I would suggest playing until you reach the final, unnecessarily locked area and simply watch the ending on Youtube, at least until (if) the Rex glitch is sorted out.