Flywrench. If Flappy Bird and Satan had a baby, this would be it. From the makers of Nidhogg, this game is just as subtle and basic, yet once you master the controls, has a nuance that only the truly dedicated will master.
Flywrench is presented in a very simplistic form. So simple, in fact, that you almost have to go online to realize there is a story. You are piloting a ship back to the center of the solar system, working your way past all the planets. Levels within the planets consist of mazes where you have to fight gravity and polarities to survive. Basically, your ship is "white." You can thrust yourself up and become red, or hit a button to begin tumbling and become green. The second you let off of any button, you return to the default white. You find yourself in a yellow maze. Do nothing, and you tumble to the floor. As you go on, you will find various barriers in your way: the only way to destroy them is to pass through them in the proper color. From simple lines across to mazes, all the way to pinwheeling spirals of color, you have to break through the maze to survive. Get to the end point, and you head on to the next level. While you can break through the white, yellow, and green bars, there are purple bars and other obstacles that will be there no matter what. The game ties in fluidly with it's thumping and addictive soundtrack, guaranteed to get stuck in your head long after the game is over.
All this has to be recognized quickly, because this game is FAST. A successful level run might take two to three seconds if you are on an average sized level, but the tough ones will taunt you and kill you instantly. Death is not punished, you instantly return to the starting point, so fast that if there is a danger immediately under your spawn location and you aren't paying attention you will die again. And again. Until you get it right.
I've played through half the game and am positive I've died over 1000 times. The game is masochistic levels of hard. For example, let's say you have to go up through a green barrier. You have to thrust upward (in red) and change to the green (which tumbles downward) at just the right time to cut the wire. Or you'll have an impenetrable purple line above a red line you have to cut to go down, meaning you have to thrust excruciatingly close to the death bar to proceed. Then, the momentum will pick up, and you WILL die on the next obstacle; back to the beginning to try again. Better be ready for that first section...whoops, you're dead again!
As much as this sounds like complaining, these words are most likely compliments to the developers' ears. Sadistic games like Super Meat Boy or VVVVVV have precise controls that you just KNOW that if you do it PRECISELY right you can make progress, and any failure is not the fault of the developers, it simply requires you to do it better. Depending on your style of play, this can be a good thing or a bad thing. If you like finding creative ways to overcome obstacles, this may not be your game, as if you deviate from how the developers intended you to get through the level, YOU. WILL. DIE. But, if you like being able to show off your dexterity, Flywrench is right up your alley.
I got stressed playing this game. The levels are just big enough to where you really can't see everything coming at you, so unless you are a video game savant you will die frequently on every single level. Even completing a level gives no reprieve, you're thrust right back to the menu to mash X and get into the next level instantaneously. You must complete a certain number of levels prior to opening up a new planet, and as time goes on you unlock a time trial mode and the ability to swap up the color schemes. While nice to have, my brain had a hard time wrapping around it, as a new theme meant different colored lines to get through.
Perhaps my one complaint with the game is the difficulty selection screen. There are two modes: "Helmet Mode (Easy)" and "Normal." If this is your first rodeo with intentionally difficult games, STAY ON EASY. Normal is where I got my first reference about the game being Satan's spawn: not only does every line (including the usually tame yellow outlines of the maze) kill you instantly, the barriers don't disappear. Jumping up through a red line does not open up a new area and give you time to think, you now have a deadly trap directly underneath you, and it's progress or fail. And, of course, failing means right back to the start of the level, so levels with six tricky parts in a row could lead to a broken controller.
The game unlocks quickly (thanks to the above mentioned speed), and with an evening of play Time Trial opened, as did a bonus option to flat out "unlock everything," where I was able to sneak a peek at the ultimate Sun level at the center of the universe, wherein I instinctively assumed the fetal position and began sobbing uncontrollably.
Flywrench is not a game to introduce your novice gamer friends to. It's frenetic speed and chaotic yet organized gameplay requires precision that only diehards will find attainable. At $6.99, you can cause your brain some serious pain whilst causing little pain on your wallet. If you enjoy such masochistic games, Flywrench is right up your alley.
Final Score: 4/5