The Blue Flamingo is a departure for Shelter developer Might and Delight in a couple of ways. Most obviously, whereas Shelter was a survive-as-a-mother-badger-’em-up (one of the best around), The Blue Flamingo is a vertical shooter along the lines of Raptor or Tyrian. (I’ve always been partial to the latter, due in no small part to its trippy sound design and endearingly doofy bonus levels).
In The Blue Flamingo, that genre is distilled into a single, score-focused Iron Man mode, unencumbered by anything so soft as checkpoints or even health pickups.
The other notable difference here is that everything in The Blue Flamingo is constructed of physical models and practical effects. The dusty handmade aesthetic and the mud-spattered Americana of the soundtrack immediately put me in mind of The Neverhood and Skullmonkeys. (Note to developers everywhere: If you want me to get lost in the look and feel of your game, put me in mind of The Neverhood and Skullmonkeys).
My main complaint about the game is that there isn’t more of it. The same couple of levels repeat again and again, with the difficulty escalating but no new sights to see. Worse, upgrades to your plane (which boil down to either better guns or more bombs) aren’t reflected visually. That’s a shame. Watching my little papercraft death machine grow ever more conspicuously badass would have been a joy.
Still, it’s priced cheap, and when it’s even cheaper during the inevitable Steam sales to come, it will make an easy impulse buy for anybody with a soft spot for the rootsy retro-future audiovisuals. Hopefully those buyers, in turn, will encourahe Might and Delight and others to continue joyfully experimenting.
Here’s to that.