Developer Habby is better known for being the creator of Archero, but they have developed quite a few other mobile games on the side which are often overlooked.
Flaming Core is on the top of that list as it’s a seemingly fun arcade-style game with an attractive visual design.
While the game’s concept is not exactly out-of-the-box, it has an interesting emphasis on making use of bullet-time to strategize your movements and complete every level.
So, is Flaming Core worthy of more recognition than it gets, or is it a game that should remain hidden under the shadow of Habby’s more successful adventures?
Let’s find out.
The gameplay of Flaming Core is pretty straightforward, but not in a boring way.
You play as two different objects, a ball and a walking robot. The majority of the game is played as the ball and at the end of every level (and sometimes in the second last part of a level) you play as the walking robot instead.
The controls are simple and your objective is to kill every enemy within a level unless they’re invincible. You have to hold the screen to point towards the direction you want to move your character and let go to move.
The catch here is that every time you hold the screen, bullet-time is activated which allows you to strategize your next move more carefully.
And once you let the screen go, the events are set into motion until you’re ready to slow down time once more. This is slightly different in the robot gameplay and instead time is normal when you’re navigating the robot so that you can complete your task.
The enemies start off pretty simple in terms of difficulty and patterns, but this changes significantly as you progress further into the game. Their attacks change between projectiles, lasers, and spikes – and there’s plenty of variations between how the enemies will use these three things, so you’ll always find yourself having to create new ways to deal with them.
There are several worlds to unlock in the game and each of them has a fixed set of levels.
Aside from the main worlds, we also have an Event Mode that does not exactly have events and is basically just filled with pre-made challenges to offer more content to the player.
The game knows how to keep itself fresh with the use of different types of enemies and the fact that you play as two objects – as well as every world having something unique to it such as uses of spikes or specific enemies you won’t find elsewhere.
In a game that relies on its simplicity, the variation of the level design is a great touch and it keeps you entertained from start to finish.
Whether I’m playing as the ball or the robot, it’s always a fun experience to figure out how I’m supposed to complete a level and the fact that there is more than one way of doing it every time simply makes the outcome very rewarding.
It’s no surprise that Habby knows how to maintain a healthy gameplay loop considering the fact Archero is all about revisiting the same levels with interesting changes.
Sometimes you can feel odd difficulty spikes but it’s nothing you can’t get used to if you pay enough attention.
Interestingly enough, the game’s difficulty is not bait in terms of making the player spend real-world money because the game has no in-app purchases or a no-ads version. That’s right, as odd as it may sound – Flaming Core is a completely free experience with tolerable ads that you can mostly even avoid.
The game encourages in-game currency to be earned and spent for most of your issues with its difficulty, and it even allows you to buy revives manually instead of watching an ad if you’re in offline mode.
It’s a surprisingly consumer-friendly game and that’s a trait hard to find in mobile games these days. You do need energy to play every level, but they usually recharge before you even need them so it’s not an issue at all.
The graphics of Flaming Core are very decent and look great no matter what quality option you’re using.
Whether it’s the playable object, the enemies, the environment, or even the backgrounds – everything looks crisp and HD. The animation is very fun to look at and the game uses all the right colors to make everything feel very aesthetic in a cyber-punk type of way.
Since every world has a different design, the game consistently remains a visual treat and is one of the best-looking mobile games out there despite its small download size.
The UI of Flaming Core is very fun to navigate and looks stylish, which is something that I always appreciate in a mobile game.
The polish is excellent too, as I did not run into a single issue within the game and it runs very smoothly on almost every device. No matter how many ads you see, it never runs into any bugs or freezes which is something a lot of games suffer from. And the addition of multiple graphics quality options is a great touch for people with older smartphones.
When you start playing the game, you immediately notice that it has really cool background music that perfectly complements the game’s cyber-punk aesthetics.
The sound effects are great too and really make you feel the impact every time you destroy an enemy or bump into an object.
Unfortunately, once you get past the first world and play onward, you realize that the game only has a single background track that it endlessly repeats no matter how far you get in the progression.
It’s a shame as just the addition of two more tracks could have made this a great experience, but hearing a single track on repeat gets repetitive.
Flaming Core is a very interesting mobile game that is fun to play and eye-candy to look at.
It’s a bit short and suffers a bit in terms of its sound design, but its consumer-friendly app design and beautiful implementation of bullet-time as an important game mechanic make up for its shortcomings.