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Flip's Twisted World Review


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On 11/09/2010 at 12:00 PM by Chessa DiMola

A disappointing game that feels rushed and half completed.
RECOMMENDATION:

Not recommended.

It's really a shame the way Flip's Twisted World worked out. As someone who sorely misses puzzle platformers, I was incredibly excited at the prospect of getting to play a brand new game within my beloved genre. Sadly, it doesn't take long to realize the flaws within Flip's Twisted World, since each is apparent nearly immediately. Between the major issues such as a temperamental camera and constant glitches, lie countless other problems, including rough platforming, boring combat, and a severe lack of direction.

Flip's Twisted World follows a young apprentice, named Flip, who becomes trapped within a magical universe after opening a forbidden magical book. Soon after entering the world, Flip discovers a magic block containing several personalities, one of which is named Pivot, who then explains what Flip must do in order to escape. Thus he is tasked with exploring several unique worlds and finding the Chapter Stone contained within each.

The worlds within the game themselves are actually quite beautiful, consisting of vibrant color schemes and charming details. Though the themes of each world are by no means original, they contain plenty of personality to keep players entertained. Unfortunately, the lack of variety in the sound effects, or lack of sound effects period, drastically detracts from the great atmosphere, and the drab looping background music only makes it worse. The only ambient noise in the world is from the enemies, which is only occasionally augmented with sound effects when Flip performs standard actions like walking and attacking.

Though missing sound effects are easy to pick out initially, it becomes apparent not too soon after that there are plenty of other little touches normally present in polished games that are completely absent in Flip's Twisted World. First off, there is little to no feedback when either attacking or being attacked by an enemy. At first I couldn't understand why I was getting injured when the enemy wasn't even making direct contact with my character, until I concluded that the hit detection box around Flip must be unnaturally large. This left me having to attack much sooner than seemed natural.

Not only is the hit detection awful, but attacking can be another lesson in frustration. Flip's attacks are controlled by shaking the Wii remote, and though I'm not a fan of meaningless waggle, I have played plenty of great games that prove it can be done right; not so much here. Swinging the Wii remote once allows Flip to attack once, and several more swings can create a combo. The problem is that once Flip enters a combo, it’s impossible to cancel it. As a result, whatever direction he was pointing in upon execution is the direction he continues to attack in, no matter what input I tried to give it. Needless to say, this annoying aspect can go from frustrating to infuriating fairly quickly. Thankfully, once players learn to swing the Wii Remote unnaturally early, defeating enemies is incredibly easy, though this is mostly due in part to the bland gameplay design of the overwhelming majority of enemies.

So now that I've established that both presentation and combat leave something to be desired, let's focus on the platforming mechanics, considering Flip's Twisted World is, after all, a platformer. In order for anyone to fully comprehend how choppy and stiff the platforming is within this title, they will have had to experience platformers from the PSOne era. Like many of the older games, the platforming in Flip's Twisted World is incredibly rough and unpolished. Flip jumps high and fast, and descends in the same manner, without any finesse. Rather than falling in a graceful manner, allowing players to accurately navigate his position midair, his movements in a specific direction are exaggerated, making it very difficult to maneuver him onto a small platform. In addition, his double jump is very touchy and must be executed in quick succession or else it will not activate, unlike the smoother double jumps seen in nearly every modern platformer.

Though Flip's Twisted World may be a platformer, the real hook of the game lies in the player's ability to rotate the world. The intended manner for players to turn the world consists of holding down B and rotating the Wii remote in the desired direction of the flip, depicted on screen by circling arrows. To make a long story short, the mechanic doesn't work, so don't waste your time because it will only inevitably lead to death. Thankfully, the game does have one redeeming quality in this department, which is allowing players to push the analog stick on the Nunchuk in the direction they wish to turn while holding B.

Considering the rotating element is the game's signature element, I am glad to say that the gameplay experience and puzzles created by using this hook are quite good. Not only will players have to constantly rotate the world in order to get from point A to point B, but they will need to use it in order to find coins, switches, and solve puzzles.

The problem once again is that the game's mechanics always get in the way, with the worst offender being the camera. Though players have full control of it, the camera has numerous issues. At random times, the camera will zoom in or zoom out for no obvious reason, and sometimes it will go into a frenzy of zooming in and out just by taking a step forward or backward. During other times the camera will swoop below the character's feet, and graphical issues will then kick in making it appear as though Flip is walking on nothing but air. As a warning, those prone to motion sickness from games should avoid zooming out and turning the camera left to right in quick succession, as the movements are incredibly quick and choppy. This is due, in part, to the fact that Flip’s movements and camera movement are tied directly together. As such, every little movement causes a rapid jerk of the camera, which is absolutely intolerable, to say the least.

As if all the aforementioned details aren't enough, there is still plenty more wrong with Flip's Twisted World. For example, a player can easily die from falling one centimeter too high, forcing them to redo that entire particular section of a level. Funny enough, there are checkpoints scattered about but they are only used if players fall into space due to a poor jump, misjudged rotation, or one of the game's many glitches.

This leads me to my second biggest annoyance within Flip's Twisted World - the unbelievable amount of glitches. My character has become frozen in place, fallen through the level, killed for no apparent reason, had his costume change colors randomly, sent back to the beginning of a level even though I activated multiple checkpoints, and there are plenty more where that came from.

As a whole the game just feels half completed, which is so disappointing considering it's obvious the game had potential to deliver a fun, charming experience. Unfortunately, the execution of many particular game elements, along with the mechanics, is extremely poor. It's most unfortunate that all the flipping and puzzles are actually fun, but between all of the annoying gameplay elements and atrocious mechanics, the game is barely playable. I suppose those with much more patience than me will surely be able to have a more enjoyable experience, but there are too many high quality platformers available for most gamers to bother wasting their time.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:


All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.


These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.


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Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.


Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.


A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.


 

Comments

Our Take

Nick DiMola Director

11/09/2010 at 12:39 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

I couldn't imagine this game being any more of a disappointment, especially after reading the fantastic Developer's Journal over at NWR.

I'm not really sure where things broke down along the way, but some sort of quality control was completely missing. Any amount of playtesting would've revealed that the way the camera worked was absolutely horrendous. If patches were allowed on Wii, I could see Frozen North really fixing the issues found here, but without such a system in place, I'm guessing this is going to be the beginning and the end for Flip.

Matt R Previews Editor

11/09/2010 at 12:50 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

If only game development were as easy as PR.

Kathrine Theidy Feature Writer

11/09/2010 at 05:52 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

It's disappointing that a game with such a creative concept turned out so seemingly poor. The developer seemed so passionate about it in the journal, I wonder where everything went wrong. With how poorly this game is sure to sell, there's no possible hope for any kind of sequel that gets it right. I'm still going to pick it up on the cheap at some point, because I have to see the game for myself.

Jason Ross Senior Staff

11/09/2010 at 06:11 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

"If only game development were as easy as PR."

With good enough PR, you can convince people they're having fun, even if they're not.

I've read some of the developer journal over at NWR, too. To me, I wasn't entirely optimistic, based on the journal, itself. One instance where I saw great potential being stifled? The game was originally going to be titled "up & dn," but someone, I forget who (the publisher, maybe?), decided that wouldn't be popular enough.

It looked to me like game designers weren't making all the important decisions, and that micro-portion of the diary shows just how business-centric control over a development team can ruin creativity.

Anyway, I've also heard that this game has struggled through its whole life, and time and time again, has there been promises of changes and revamps. It's a great concept, but I honestly just don't imagine Majesco offering enough of the right support to have made something as outstanding as the original vision of the developer.

Oh, and weird? The last time the game was delayed, it was the day it was actually supposed to be launched. Definitely a failure of communications on somebody's part.

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