Reviews Review: Life of Fly

Review: Life of Fly

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Games are supposed to let us drift off to a faraway land, to forget our worries about everyday life. But occasionally a game gets released to the market that makes you contemplate who you are. Its atmospheric gameplay and in-depth narrative make you question all your life choices. Life of Fly is one of these titles that will have you thinking about your own existence, while enjoying the action that unfolds before you.

Developed and published by EpiXR Games, this exploration title allows you to take on the role of 12 different flies. You will navigate different real-world environments while listening to the story of each of these expressive creatures. You soon realise that being a fly isn’t as simple as buzzing around a steaming pile of faeces. These annoying little animals have feelings, and a whole host of politics that is as complex and intense as the life of a human.

A great way to tell a story, but it won’t be for everyone!

This immersive adventure title will not be for everyone, its relaxed approach, and exploratory ways are repetitive throughout. What makes each level stand out is the brilliant narrative that accompanies all the action. An Americanised voice over explains the existence of each of these hovering bugs. A stage is broken down into many small sections, and you must flit through several glowing orbs to progress. Once you touch each one, an additional portion of audio is played out to continue the story.

This need to find specific orbs to keep the story flowing was at odds with the main concept. The developers want you to listen to each tale while engrossing yourself with the landscape that they live in. Instead of being able to observe your surroundings, you will focus on a small corridor of view, desperately searching for the next checkpoint. This short sighted approach ruins the immersive nature and means that you have to play through a stage several times to piece together all the elements.

It’s an odd concept.

I have previously reviewed Aery – Little Bird Adventure. This follows a similar approach to its gameplay, and still I find the genre an odd concept. I love the relaxing approach, the stunning audio, and beautiful world that it’s set in, but the demand to hunt for objects during each chapter means you miss most of these points. Why create a game where you should lose yourself in its concept, but yet you are always held back by the need to search for orbs?

The casual and straightforward approach ensures that this won’t test anyone that wishes to play it. If you come into this expecting fast-paced, explosive action, then you will be truly disappointed. Think of this as an adventure spoken-visual novel, and you won’t be far from the mark. Even though I don’t entirely understand the draw to this genre of game, I enjoyed every stage because of the interesting and witty tales that were told.

Why were the stories so good?

It could have been easy for EpiXR Games to create 12 individual tales that didn’t connect, but each had an underlying theme that connected each of the flies. Some links were more obvious than others, with characters talking about each other, and some were joined at an emotional or political level. Each of the chapters resonated with me, which was the aim of the developers. They want you to enjoy the game, but to look at how everything no matter how small has issues and problems that need to be overcome.

A beautiful and immersive world to explore.

When a game has limited gameplay mechanics to focus on, and its main concept is about exploring and losing yourself in its story, the visuals and audio need to be correct. Luckily, Life of Fly is fantastic to look at, and has an incredible soundtrack. The character you control has a golden glow to him, giving the impression that you command the spirit of the animal, and not the body. Each level has many details to observe. You will fly through several stages from; saunas, Christmas living rooms, dining areas, and many more. At a distance each look fantastic, but on closer inspection it looks dated. This isn’t a problem, as you rarely focus on one area for too long. A variety of colours and tones are used to enhance each area, you zoom past jovial bright scenes, to dank, dark areas that have a haunting gothic feel.

Though the mixture of landscapes adds a layer of emotion, the soundtrack is the champion here.  Each chapter has a unique tale, and the style and pace of the music beautifully accompany each one. The pace at which the audio plays emphasise the feelings expressed and brilliantly delivers the intended message.

The easy controls allow you to enjoy the moment.

Though I have my issues regarding the orbs, and the requirement to hunt these down. The control system is so easy to pick up you become one with the fly in front of you. Both analogue sticks move your bug, and this is the extent of the demand of the controller setup. Zooming around the world is a smooth and worry free experience. If you forget about progressing the game you’ll have a wonderful time. You’ll soar through massive doorways, past gigantic pieces of furniture, and through some amazing environments. It emphasises how small you are compared to the world around you.

Though I played through this several times, it’s not a game that I’d place in the high replay value category. I enjoyed every aspect of this title, but can see its limitations, and other than missing some key points on my first run through, there wasn’t any other reason to return. An easy achievement list is unlocked by playing from start to finish, and you’ll have the whole thing finished in between 1 and 3 hours.

Though its niche, it’s worth playing.

A genre that is very niche, but it’s one that is fantastically relaxing. Forget all your fast-paced shooters and challenging puzzle titles, this is all about the story and reflecting upon your own life choices. Do I recommend you play this? I do! It’s easy to play, beautiful to look at, and contains some delightful audio, and can be purchased here. Do you resonate with the tale of the flies? Only time will tell, listen to the 12 stories and be one with their way of life.

SUMMARY

A beautifully atmospheric and absorbing game. Listen to the tales of the 12 flies, and live a moment of their short existence.

+ Stunning audio.
+ Many unique environments.
+ The narration is touching and paced perfectly.
+ Short but well designed levels.
+ Easy to control.
- The hunt for orbs is at odds with the concept.
- More time with each fly would have added depth.

(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on PC and Nintendo Switch.)
Daniel Waite
Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I've now found a new home to write my reviews, and get my opinion out to the masses. Still the lead admin for Xboxseriesfans on Facebook and Instagram. I love the gaming world, and writing about it. I can be contacted at [email protected] for gaming reviews.

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