The bombs have finally stopped exploding. We have survived, but just barely. Unfortunately, there are a lot of injuries and it is up to us to treat them and save as many of our crew members as possible before time runs out. This is the world of Flatline: A FUSE Aftershock Game. Flatline is a game for 1 to 5 players, age 13+. It takes approximately 45 minutes to play and retails for $50.
If I am being completely honest, I hate real-time games. (Okay, hate is too strong of a word … it is more a strong dislike.) My game group generally likes to take our time and think when playing. Add small children to the mix, and real-time games don’t generally work for us. When I played FUSE, I found it a stressful 10 minutes, mixed with a low success rate, but I had fun trying, probably because it was only 10 minutes. However, it was not something I would seek out and play time and time again, mainly because it was real time. So what on earth made me want to try Flatline?
I think the biggest factor in trying another real time was that this one was micro-bursts. Unlike, FUSE, where it’s 10 minutes of stress, this is one minute of stress followed by an evaluation. Then, another minute of stress followed by an evaluation. This was my kind of real-time game. I could deal with one minute and taking time to briefly resolve and evaluate after the fact. This felt like a comfortable mix of strategy, planning, and chaos, as opposed to 10 minutes of no time to think, follow your gut, and hope for the best. Also, it being only a minute makes it a bit more friendly for gamers with kids. You can tell your kid, “Wait one minute,” and they’ll generally be okay. If you tell your kid, “Wait 10 minutes,” your house might be in shambles when you look up from the game.
The theme is supposed to feel like a hospital or emergency room in space, but apart from the real time stress of hospitals/emergency rooms, it doesn’t entirely immerse you in theme. Since it’s not constant stress pounding away at you the entire time you are playing, you can spice up your game by naming the Patient Cards (sticky notes) or giving them roles, but this might make the game too real for some people. The components are top-notch and what I’ve come to expect from Renegade Game Studios. The cardboard is thick, and the dice are plentiful and the spinning cardboard dial adds a nice touch and feel.
After playing through this game a few times, I feel like I have finally found a real-time game that is just my speed. It provided a good balance of stress and calm, planning and frenetic execution. I still don’t love real-time games, but if someone asked me to play this game, I would play it, and if someone asked me for a real-time recommendation, it would be this game. Good job, Kane Klenko! You made me like a real-time game!
It was a calm and peaceful day. All was quiet and well … until the mother ship came … That was the day our lives changed forever. Waves of alien ships poured out of this monstrous vessel. We didn’t have a chance to prepare or recruit our best fighters, but we vowed to fight it off bravely. This is Flip Ships! Flip Ships is game for 1-4 players, ages 8+. It take about 30 minutes to play and retails for $40.
It seems to me that Mr. Klenko designs games that I am horribly bad at. First, it was real-time games, now it is dexterity games. That observation aside, I did find the game to be enjoyable and difficult (for me). Those of you with a shred of coordination would probably excel at this game. However, I think I lost every game I played, much to the chagrin of my fellow pilots.
As I’m sure has been said a million times, this game reminds me of the old Atari game Space Invaders, which I also wasn’t great at. The artwork in this game was the best part of the game for me. The colors and illustration style are amazingly vibrant and pop off the table, inviting you to play. As for the components, they are a mixed bag for me. With dexterity games, I like more wood than cardboard in the box, like Flick ’em Up! I’d even take plastic, like the cheaper version of Flick ’em Up! However, I understand the cost associated with wood and plastic and that by using cardboard, you can make this game more accessible to the masses.
For my final opinion, I think this would be a good game for kids and families. It has broad appeal, adjustable difficulty, and a good price point. Is it my favorite dexterity game? No, but I do see the appeal and merit of it.
These games were provided to me for free by Renegade Game Studios in exchange for honest reviews.
See all our Family Game Night articles here.
Copyright 2017 Stuart Dunn
Your purchase of the resources mentioned here through Amazon affiliate links benefits the author of this article.