Flat Kingdom Paper’s Cut Edition review for Nintendo Switch, PS4/5, Xbox One/Series X

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Developer: Fat Panda Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

I?ve been playing games published by Ratalaika for a very long time, and almost without exception. That means, of course, I have a lot of experience in playing games that, often times, aren?t of much value apart from being an easy Platinum Trophy. Part of me (a very, very small part of me) sometimes (by which I mean virtually never) wondered whether I?d enjoy the games at all if it weren?t for that addictive sound of trophies being achieved.

Going by Flat Kingdom, the answer is a pretty clear no.

Quite simply, Flat Kingdom sucks as a platformer. There?s really no other way around it. Whatever charm its visuals possess ? and I?ll get to those eventually ? the actual gameplay is so brutally terrible, it?s hard to see anything redeeming in the game.

First off, the combat system makes no sense. It?s sort of similar to rock-paper-scissors, in that all the enemies you come across are vulnerab;e to one of the three shapes your character can change into (circle, square, triangle). Unfortunately, Flat Kingdom never actually tells you this, as far as I could tell, instead relying on you to seek it out in the pause menu ? first selecting your journal, then requiring you to flip over to the enemies subsection.

To be fair, you?ll occasionally see shapes appear over some enemy heads, but unless you dig into your journal (again, in a subsection of a subsection), you?re not necessarily going to put it together. Even if you do figure it out, though ? either by chance or by reading ? it still doesn?t always seem to work like it should. Numerous times I?d switch to what I thought was the right shape, only for it to do nothing. It?s most egregious in the boss fights, however, where there doesn?t seem to be any connection between your shape and what?s most effective.

Flat Kingdom adds to its frustrating nature by having terrible platforming (kind of a big deal, since it?s a platformer). Jumping is a pain, and all of the shapes ? even the circle and its double-jump ? feel heavy and lifeless, to the point that even when you double-jump, it doesn?t feel like you?re doing much more than a short hop. Along the same lines, running isn?t all that fun either, since the shapes? speeds only vary from medium (with the triangle) to plodding (the square).

The truly bizarre thing about it all is that Flat Kingdom looks like it wants to be a cute, charming platformer. You?re playing as a shape trying to protect a 2D kingdom from 3D enemies, and it?s all brightly coloured. It?s also kinda-sorta done in a paper craft style, though if that weren?t said explicitly in the game?s description on the eShop, I wouldn?t have guessed that. Still, it looks nice enough.

But no matter how cute it may be, there?s no getting around the fact that Flat Kingdom is an awful game. It might be worth it if you?re obsessed with Trophies or Achievements on another system, but if you?re just playing for the fun of it, don?t bother. There are plenty of other, better platformers to be found on the Switch.

Ratalaika Games provided us with a Flat Kingdom Paper’s Cut Edition Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: D