Flip's Twisted World
US: 19 Oct 2010
The core concept behind Majesco’s Flip’s Twisted World is to allow the player to assume complete control over the world and therefore determine how it is navigated. While the concept stands out on its own, as far as a potentially new way to liberate some of the control that is usually predetermined by the developers, there is a sinister lack of imagination and polish surrounding the game itself.
You play as an apprentice, Flip, who—just like all apprentices—doesn’t think his abilities are being utilized to their full potential. Because of the pure neglect that he feels, Flip goes behind his master’s back and opens the forbidden book, transporting him into a world where he will be truly tested for the first time. In order for Flip to become the wizard he so desperately wants to become, he will elicit the help of the six-sided cube and its “unique” personalities.
In order for the traveling companion narrative to work there needs to be a clash of personalities; one person being relatable to the people watching (or playing) while the other is there strictly to create obnoxious scenarios that eventually helps illustrate something we didn’t know about ourselves. For Flip, he has a cube with six sides that each represent a different type of personality as well as a hurdle that he has to cross. The personalities break down as optimistic, brash, nurturing, diva, hot-headed, and cocky. Each of the personalities is an attempt to create a type of pulling effect when faced with certain objectives, acting as an overly simplified conscience. These possibly, personality-defining scenarios are rarely explored and when they are they break down into observations like, “I’m angry so who cares” or “I’m nurturing so let’s help them”. It is disappointing that there wasn’t more time set aside for these six personalities because they could have helped explore the development of Flip as he slowly reached his goal of becoming a wizard (while learning more about himself), creating a more worthwhile and educational narrative. Instead, we are left with a hollowed out character along with an equally hollowed out world surrounding Flip.
Each of the areas in Flip’s Twisted World act as a barrier both to him returning home and learning another trade of a wizard, but they also act as a practice in patience. With the help of one of the sides of the cube, Flip has the ability to flip the world in one of four directions. Flipping the world around at will seems liberating at first, but you soon find out there isn’t really a choice in how or when you decide to flip. Most of the areas that Flip explores are broken up, a la Super Mario Galaxy, so flipping in the wrong direction throws you out of the world, forcing you to restart from the last saved checkpoint. By literally breaking most of the levels up, the game forces the player to use the flip ability only how and when they are told. Instead of using the flip mechanic to explore the puzzle elements that it naturally creates, each world has a “seen it before” feel, only adding more difficulty by taking away barriers that normally would have saved you from falling into the return-to-the-beginning void. The flip mechanic simply turns out to be a gimmick that promises more than it can deliver, mirroring the same promise of turning into a powerful wizard.
Each of Flip’s six abilities are unlocked based upon the world that you are currently traversing, giving you a useful tool at certain times, but ultimately falling short of anything we would associate with the power that he is supposed to command. Most of the powers are elemental (fire, water, ice, etc.) while the others are more like a melee attack, one of them being executed by Flip’s book. Each of these powers is linked to a shake of the Wii-Remote, resulting in a multitude of mis-timed or unintended attacks. While the mere mention of elemental power seems to suggest a characteristic of a wizard or sorcerer, just like the rest of the game, the presentation destroys any potential enjoyment. When presented with the ability to control water, many would assume oceans or rivers being thrown at will, not spraying out of a water bottle. The same disappointment can be aligned with each “upgrade” that you receive. All of these complaints could have been overlooked if it wasn’t for the amount of times you will have to start over because of the multitude of glitches.
Glitches are a normal occurrence in video games that are usually dealt with as long as they aren’t game breaking and allow you to continue. Sometimes there are even glitches that continue to break a game (looking at you Fallout : New Vegas), but because of the narrative or hook of the game, we are more forgiving of these moments. Then there are games like Flip’s Twisted World, where there are game breaking moments and because of the lack of polish everywhere else, it will dissuade many from playing through it. These glitches include completing a long objective only to have the game not recognize that it is finished, falling through the level, weapons that stick to your feet, disappearing enemies, reappearing enemies, etc., etc. Every one of these glitches happened at every level in the game, making it hard to play through just the beginning of the game.
The concept behind Flip’s makes for an interesting game, but unfortunately because of the overall lack of quality control, many won’t even have the option to finish it. Flip’s Twisted World is a game with some good ideas, but with the overall poor presentation, rough controls, and lackluster polish in every area, you may want to flip something else.