Even though Fly Catbug Fly! is an endless runner, the gameplay and experience when playing the game is a lot different from previous endless runner arcade games. The design of the game comes from Cartoon Hangover's insane web series and brings characters of the series as power-ups.
Gameplay is simple, one touch to fly and a dive button that you won't need in the early stages. It's a bizarre molding of an established gameplay mechanic with a different type of game experience.
Fly, collect, earn, and spend
The core gameplay of Fly Catbug Fly! is an endless runner. The goal is to fly as far through a level as possible. But Fly Catbug Fly! also adds collecting into the game. You collect various items throughout the level. The more things you collect, the heavier Catbug gets, requiring more effort to stay afloat.
Dispersed throughout the levels are portals where you can deposit your collections. Items have different values, so each time you deposit items into the portal, the amount of money earned will differ.
But the core of Fly Catbug Fly! is to try and navigate through a level without dying. Fortunately, Fly Catbug Fly! gives you a health bar (which is upgradable) so it's not one-hit-one-death. This is necessary, as levels get more complicated and the path that you fly can shrink to barely the width of the height of Catbug.
The game does show polish and the difficulty of the game increased dramatically in the second level, but the challenge is actually welcome.
With earned money, you can purchase upgrades like more life, accessories, and powerups. One of the best upgrades is using other characters of Fly Catbug Fly! to help you in the level. One character that you can purchase uses a bazooka to destroy obstacles while you fly in the straight line.
Upgrades vary in price, but there are no in-app purchases so everything has to be earned in the game. There's a fair amount of level grinding, but it makes you appreciate your upgrades more.
Two buttons to use
There are two buttons to control Catbug. Tapping the screen will help Catbug fly higher to navigate through the level obstacles. The second button is a Dive which divebombs you towards the bottom of the level. This button really isn't necessary, but there are a few occasions when it's useful.
It's possible that the dive mechanic will be more useful in later levels. Fly Catbug Fly! requires precision and patience. Learning the basic mechanics is easy, but navigating through tunnels takes a lot of concentration.
Fly Catbug Fly! is the perfect example of "easy to play, but hard to master" gameplay.
Sprite-based graphics match the theme of the cartoon
Fly Catbug Fly! uses a sprite-based graphics system. Environments look simple, but when you take a broad look at the levels, you can see that the background also has animations. You may spend most of the time just staring at Catbug, but everything in the cartoon has been translated perfectly into this 16-bit style.
It's not the most technically advanced game, but it fits the style of Catbug and retains all the bizarre humor.
The audio of Fly Catbug Fly! also pulls a lot of quotes from the series - Catbug and the music are equally strange. You may get tired of hearing Catbug spout quotes at the end of each run because they get repetitive, but the game's music does keep the intensity high.
An endless runner that combines humor and a challenge
Considering Fly Catbug Fly! could have easily been released as a free-to-play game, the fact that it's a paid game is surprising. But that initial cost shows that the game has been polished and is actually well worth playing.
Fly Catbug Fly! is challenging, to the point where you may rage quit because you can't complete a challenge. But the challenge of the game is what makes it excellent.
There's nothing better than passing your previous farthest distance and seeing all the stuff you collected at the end of the run. Since there are no in-app purchases, every dollar you earn is from your own effort, which makes Fly Catbug Fly! even more enjoyable.