App Reviewed on: iPhone SE
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Super Fowlst is the follow up to Fowlst, an arcade roguelite that felt like a mashup of Downwell and Flappy Bird. This sequel keeps these core influences and essentially just adds one more influence to formula: Spelunky. This new combo can makes for a more interesting game overall, but there’s a few things holding Super Fowlst from being a truly great sequel.
In Super Fowlst, you play as a bird who wanders between different environments battling demons and other enemies of all shapes and sizes. As a bird, you can fly all over environments, but you must do so using a Flappy Bird-style control scheme. If you tap on one side of the screen, your bird will flap in an upward arc in that direction before starting to fall back down to the ground.
Using these somewhat strange controls, you need to steer your bird into enemies to defeat them while also being careful not to get hit by their attacks. Once a stage is clear of enemies, a door opens up and you’re free to move on to another stage and repeat this process.
Where the first Fowlst game had more of an arena-based level structure and a minimal graphical style (à la Downwell), Super Fowlst feels more exploration-based. Levels are larger than the size of your phone screen, and can be full of secrets and surprises. In this way, Super Fowlst feels a little like a mobile version of something like Spelunky.
Like Spelunky, runs of Super Fowlst can end suddenly and at any time if you aren’t careful. In each game, you start with three hearts, and each time you get hit, you lose one. If you lose all three, your run ends and you have to start Super Fowlst over again from the first level. As somewhat of a concession to this punishing difficulty, Super Fowlst does offer the ability to use coins to purchase upgrades between runs, which can help you enter runs with a little more survivability and firepower.
The exploration elements of Super Fowlst add a lot to the simple gameplay of Fowlst, but at the same time, it seems like this game has a few missing pieces that prevent the formula from fully clicking. Although the game has sharp controls, a nice sense of style, and interesting enemy design, there’s just not enough of it in the beginning stages.
Every time you start a new run of Super Fowlst, the first few stages are dead simple. There are only 2-3 enemies in them, and most of them can’t even hurt you. The rest of the environment is completely featureless. Of course, this changes the further you get into the game, but it doesn’t change the fact that every new game of Super Fowlst has you playing through 4-5 lifeless and uninteresting stages at the start before getting into anything that seems satisfying. It’s a strange choice, and one that definitely makes me hesitant to start new games of Super Fowlst.
The bottom line
Super Fowlst has all the right ingredients to be the perfect sequel to Fowlst, but doesn’t always mix them together the right way. In particular, the early stages of Super Fowlst are so lacking that it’s unclear as to why they’re in the game at all. This may sound like a small thing, but considering these early stages are what you end up playing most often, it ends up actually being a pretty big blemish on an otherwise solid and enjoyable game.