Fleafall Champion is an arcade-action platformer. You play as a cute little flea. That's right, a flea. And the developer does actually manage to pull off "really cute" with fleas. Apparently fleas live for a single purpose: colleting orbs. You and your friends frantically hop around the level after the Orb, collecting it as many times as you can before time runs out. This is made fun by extremely polished gameplay, graphics and sound. This game is easy to learn and completely non-violent, which makes it a good kids game.
The gameplay centers around a unique movement mechanic. You play with only two keys, one to move left and one to move right. The longer you hold a key the farther you jump, but you tradeoff vertical distance for horizontal distance with charged jumps. This clever little system means you'll have to use a strategic combination of short, high hops and long, charged low leaps to navigate your way around the screen. It's really very intuitive, especially after spending two minutes playing through the quick tutorial levels. It takes just a few minutes to learn but a lifetime to master. Pro players can shoot across the screen with the perfect angle and snatch the Orb out from another flea's nose in the nick of time. That's when the fun starts.
There are singleplayer, networked multiplayer, and hotseat multiplayer modes. This is a game that's absolutely great to play with two or four people crowded around one keyboard. Matches get surprisingly intense with the time and point limits. Point bonuses for combos and amazing moves cause many games to turn around in the last few seconds.
The computer players' AI is impressive. There are multiple intelligence levels ranging from fairly easy to incredibly hard. This means the single player mode gets challenging quickly. Levels are unlocked each time you beat a stage in the single player mode, but you'll have to work for them. To ease the difficulty you can turn on Jump Help, a dotted line showing a trajectory preview of where your jump will take you.
There are three different game modes: Super Grab, Thief and Basketball. In Super Grab, each time you collect an orb another one respawns somewhere else; collect them before time runs out. In Thief, you carry the orb with you; keep it away from the other players or they'll steal it. Basketball combines both modes. Grab the orb and carry it into the net without anyone stealing it. Each mode is pretty fun and gives the game some good variety. Thief is particularly fun.
Fleafall was a commercial game worth $23.95 until the developer released it as freeware. This means Fleafall has better production values than about any other freeware game on the market. The fleas cute little cheers of 'Yahoo!' and 'Yippee!' and the awesome hops, plops and that sound when charging a jump all do a lot for the game. Menus are professional, the title music is great, and levels are well designed, everything being very cartoony, bright and colorful. The whole game is so cheerful it'll make you grin just looking at it.
There aren't many negatives for Fleafall. The fleas are really tiny and can sometimes be hard to see. Thankfully they're brightly colored, but playing in fullscreen is recommended for best visibility. The only potential downfall is replayability. The single player mode is short and, while the gameplay modes do offer variety, there's only so much hopping after an orb you can do in a day. All in all though, it's a great, polished game that's a blast with friends.