When the Dreamcast was but a young'un, with no idea of its fate and every intention of fighting off competition from Nintendo and Sony, Sega announced Floigan Brothers, a cartoon-inspired adventure of some description with gameplay to rival Mario. Thankfully, after such a long period of time without an update and nothing but a few fanciful screenshots and artist's impressions to go by, most people have forgotten about Floigan Brothers, or simply given up on it. Better late than never then, Visual Concepts have delivered the finished article, and we're surprised it took them this long… Floigan Brothers is a funny game. Not Sam & Max funny, but perhaps Monkey Island funny. The main characters find themselves in ridiculous situations and the on-screen antics and dialogue live up to the billing. It's a fairly American sense of humour, but it had me chuckling quietly on several occasions. What else does Floigan Brothers have to offer though? The premise is that you are Hoigle, the smaller of the two Floigan Brothers. Your partner in crime, Moigle, is working on a secret project and needs some help finding the seven missing parts to get it going. You have to help Moigle find these parts of the puzzle by pointing and guiding him to various areas of the screen, hugging him to make him feel better, punching him in the stomach to annoy him, or feeding him, which puts him in the mood to take in new information. Another integral part of the control system is the Speak button, which brings up a small menu with various things Hoigle can say, with topics ranging from games to insults, all of which have a different effect on Moigle.
Hoigle can also count his points, which are collected throughout the game. Moigle will often remind you that he has more of them than you, but they can be used to bribe the big oaf so that he's receptive to lessons. In this state Moigle can be taught how to play games and do various other things, and it's Moigle's job to be generally unhelpful, something which he does well. The Floigans sometimes have to fight off the cat troops of Baron Malodorous, who wants rid of the pair of you so that he can have the junkyard to himself. These combat sections are fairly good fun and stick to several key cartoon rules; cats have nine lives and bullets can be diverted or stopped altogether. The cats also have bunkers in the rubble from the safety of which they can chuck bombs at the Floigans. Visually the game is a pretty standard cartoon adventure, but there is occasionally enough detail to slow the game a little, with the hill sections in particular dragging down the framerate. Otherwise the animation is extremely nice, with plenty of quirky gimmicks. Hoigle can literally be flattened by Moigle as he bumbles about, and the colourful Moigle himself can often be seen getting distracted by a butterfly as Hoigle painstakingly tries to explain something. The voice acting is pretty good too, fitting the characters in a Banjo Kazooie kind of way.
Sweet, but short
There are a couple of problems with the game though. For starters, there are camera issues from the start. The camera strays into other objects in confined spaces, obstructing your view of the brothers and making it hard to deal with oncoming threats. You can move the camera around using the L and R buttons and in open spaces you can actually rotate a full 360 degrees, but it's still an annoyance. The biggest problem the game faces though is how ridiculously short it is. Clearly aimed at younger gamers, Floigan takes little over an hour to complete. That's shorter than most movies, which makes Floigan Brothers a decent rental if you can find it, but otherwise worth missing. It costs less than most games, but you would expect that for something released on the Dreamcast in this day and age. There is online support to swap different skills and costumes, and there is the promise of continued downloads from Sega to consider, but the game has very little longevity to start with, and unless Sega intends to offer new adventures every month, we can't see this helping a great deal. Pick it up in a bargain bin when it costs a fiver, or buy it for a younger relative, but don't expect another Mario. Laugh out loud funny though Floigan Brothers can be at times, it's far too short to be taken seriously.