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In Memory
Sean Pettibone

 



Segaís track record of making interesting game ideas has usually meant an interesting title that departs from the norm, yet is still highly enjoyable. Games such as Space Channel 5, Jet Grind Radio and Seaman have set the pace for the console. Unfortunately, this doesnít always work out and this reviewed title is one example of this. Floigan Bros. Chapter 1 from Sega mainstay developers Visual Concepts attempts to do something a bit different from the norm, but ends up in the middle because most of its ideas donít really gel in their execution, leaving the player mostly feeling confused and lost. This is unfortunate because there are many cool ideas in FB that go nowhere. The slapstick, comedy-inspired game is set in a junkyard and follows the misadventures of two hick brothers, Moigle and Hoigle, their talking mice and an invading horde of cats. It sounds pretty wacky but in the end, the majority of the jokes just arenít funny and a lot of the humor seems forced. Itís a cool idea that gives players control of Moigle, and must get his brother Hoigle to do things in order to succeed in the game, these tasks range from the mundane such as moving items to the slapstick, more elaborate things such as triggering chain reactions.

Moigle is the smaller of the two brothers and must rely on his bigger brother to complete many tasks. In that sense, this is an elaborate puzzle game where you have to make the two brothers work in tandem to complete their tasks. Moigle needs to keep track of Hoigleís desires and can call him to ask for advice or help him complete tasks which is cool and allows the game to have a lot more interactivity than youíd initially expect it to. Hoigle also likes to play and so there are also mini-games such as High Five where you have to compete with him in a game of hand gestures. There are also some other mini-games, which can be unlocked later on. If you beat him at these mini-games, youíll earn points which can then be traded to teach him new abilities and yet still more games. This makes things a bit more interesting and adds some incentive to the gamer, but it does tend to make Floigan Bros. become a bit repetitive after awhile.

You also need to feed him when he gets hungry and reassure him when he gets sad or angry. Itís pretty obvious when he has his mood swings and your required reactions are likewise straightforward. It is up to you to keep him happy, which is a simple task most of the time. If Hoigle gets unhappy, heíll chase after Moigle, which makes things difficult because you need to both satisfy him while avoiding his rage at the same time. While itís an interesting idea, it doesnít really work that well in practice and lends the game a choppy, inconsistent feel. This is only made worse by the interface, which is clunky and further adds the feeling of incoherence to the proceedings. The communication system is overly elaborate and not very intuitive, which makes the game less enjoyable because you need to decide how to deal with his many different moods, and doing so with this is awkward.

There are times when making Hoigle cry can be used to your advantage, and when making him angry will help you progress through the game Ė this is a tricky thing to accomplish. Most of the time, what you need to do is obvious and isnít as difficult as it sounds but the thing here is that the interface makes it hard to actually implement what you want to do. Even simple actions such as finding objects and giving them to Hoigle are turned into a chore. Most of the puzzles and tricks are straightforward but some tasks are made extremely tedious which hurts the gameís appeal. The interface is decent but isnít intuitive enough to make for a seamless experience, making play awkward and choppy while also seriously hurting the fun-factor behind the experience. So in the end, while the ideas behind Floigan Bros. were cool, the end-result is underwhelming because thereís so little though behind it.

Flogian Bros. has a good sense of humor about it and the cartoony feel of the game makes up for what is otherwise a disappointing experience. The graphics in the game are very good with decent animation and likewise, the voice-acting is also quite good. Itís just a shame that the game that goes along with all the production values isnít as compelling as one would like. Another major problem with Floigan Bros. is that the jokes are repeated enough to become tedious in a hurry. Its sense of repetitiveness is one of the main problems that plagues this design, with similar events occurring again and again throughout the course of the game. This type of gameplay gets old fast thanks to the poor controls and obvious puzzles. The awkward, non-intuitive controls give the game a poor flow and undermine any challenge and fun there might be. While there were some great ideas in the game, it doesnít deliver on its promises. Floigan Bros. is an interesting experiment that falls short in most of the key areas. In the end, the game just isnít any fun. It doesnít go far enough with implementing the good ideas and goes to far astray of its goal thanks largely to a poor interface. Unfortunately, despite some promising elements, Floigan Bros Chapter 1 will either leave you bored or frustrated but, the one thing it wonít do is leave you waiting for Chapter 2.