I’ll admit, I wasn’t too optimistic going into my review time with Flip’s Twisted World as I had read some less than promising reviews beforehand. Still, I wanted to take the time to play the game.
A review by JHardin1112.
Game - Flip's Twisted World
Version - Wii
Time Spent Playing - 4+ hours
Obtained - Review Copy courtesy of Majesco Entertainment
I'll admit, I wasn't too optimistic going into my time with Flip's Twisted World as I had read some less than promising reviews beforehand. Still, I wanted to take the time to play the game and form my opinion (I'm glad I did), so here it is*. At first glance, the story seemed fairly weak, the characters quite forgettable, and the graphics were not my cup of tea. I know this doesn't sound like it adds up to a great game. Truth be told, it isn't a great game. It is, however, a good game with some flaws.
Flip's Twisted World is the first game by developer Frozen North. According to a very interesting series of developer diaries posted on NintendoWorldReport.com, Flip's Twisted World was created by a small team of only three developers. Honestly, I'm impressed by this fact. While the game does have its flaws, I think that what the devs over at Frozen North did here was get their foot in the door. They made an effort, and for the most part, I like what they did.
When there is a game I want to purchase, I always scour the internet for multiple reviews. Even if the game gets a bad rating, I want to know why. In some instances, I read something in one of those reviews which peaks my interest and I still buy the game despite its less than stellar review. I want to offer you, my fellow gamer, exactly that. So, read my review and form your own opinion. Who knows? You may decide to take a chance on Flip and find that Flip has a lot to offer.
This is a quote taken directly from the aformentioned developer diary:
The game follows the journey of a young wizard's apprentice, Flip, whose curiosity with magic lands him in a strange universe. Because Flip wasn't planning this adventure, he starts with only a book as his first weapon and the desire to return home.
Flip's companion is a mystical cube, Pivot, who helps guide Flip through the worlds (without getting annoying like Navi). As you progress, Pivot develops an arsenal of deadly weapons Flip can use to defeat enemies and bosses. With Pivot's help, Flip must make it out of this twisted world, back home. But he is not the only one trapped inside.
Axel, the antagonist, is a shadow from Master Fulcrum's past, who years ago was trapped in this timeless tomb. He has been wreaking havoc on the worlds in his quest to escape. In the final showdown Flip realizes ....
I don't want to ruin any surprises, so I deleted the last part of the quote. You'll have to play the game to find out what Flip realizes.
Or you could go and read the developer diaries. But, that takes the fun out of it, doesn't it?
Okay. Now that you're back from reading the dev diary, (are you happy now?), let's move on.
Gameplay and Controls
Gameplay takes place mainly within the "World Book", a magical dimension that contains six worlds. I think it is worth noting that these levels are lengthy and challenging. Each world is home to a unique environment, containing a number of challenges, some of which are optional. These optional quests will net you some coin, which can be used to purchase health potions and the like. As previously stated, Flip starts out with only his spell book as a melee weapon and the ability to rotate the world to solve puzzles and progress. Within each level, you obtain a new cube power for achieving a small goal, such as destroying all enemies in a room. With each of these new cube powers, Flip is able to defeat more powerful enemies, access new areas, and more. At the end of each world is a Chapter Stone. These Chapter Stones are essential for Flip save the day and return home. Of course, in order to obtain Chapter Stones, Flip must face off against a boss. Your overall goal as you progress through the game is to restore order to the "World Book" by defeating Axel and to returning home.
Controlling Flip is fairly straightforward. Players control Flip using the analog stick of the nunchuck. Pressing A will cause Flip to jump. Press A again to double jump. In order to use your melee weapon, shake the wii remote. Alternatively, (and I find this works best against earlier enemies), press A to jump and then B to slam the book down on the bad guys. Doing this usually allowed me to obtain the upper hand in combat. The meat of the game comes with the power to rotate the world around you in 90° turns. In order to rotate the world press and hold B. Then, with the nunchuck, move and hold the analog stick in the desired direction and release B. The floor will become a wall and vice versa. It's really that simple and works well for the most part. Sometimes you may rotate the wrong way and fall into the void which will cause you to respawn. Thankfully, scattered throughout each level, are a handful of checkpoints. As long as you have already activated the checkpoint, you will respawn from there. Otherwise, it's back to the beginning of the world. Also, players can access the menu by pressing 1. By pressing 2 on the wii remote, you can have Flip ingest a potion.
Visuals and Sound
The visuals are impressive. The worlds are quite large and the game has a variety of design. From medieval levels, to ice, lava and more. If you take the time to look around you might notice the little things. I noticed in an indoor cathedral area, the sunlight coming in through windows actually had dust particles floating in it. I appreciate this attention to detail. However, there are some areas that seem quite devoid of any activity. For instance, The Keep, which is designed to look like a fragmented castle with a sprawling courtyard. The courtyard has maybe less than 10 enemies and not much activity other than that. In my opinion, the game was lacking in small visual details, such as animated NPC's, trees that swayed in the wind, gusts of wind blowing across the courtyard, etcetera. I want to stress that while I make mention of these minor details, what is there far outweighs what is missing.
Depending on how observant you are, you may or may not notice some of the visual glitches. I came across just one of these which caused me any trouble. In The Keep, players have an optional quest of placing knight statues on shield shaped buttons. In one instance, the knight statue is on a wall with the shield button on the floor just below it. In order to complete this task you need to walk over to the shield button and flip the world so the wall is now the floor. Then, while standing next to the knight statue, flip the world back to its original state. This action causes the knight statue to fall off the floor(wall) with you and land right by the shield button. This is quite easy, unless you rotate the world in the incorrect direction and cause yourself and the statue to fall into the void. No big deal. You get respawned at the last checkpoint. All is right with the world until you go back to where you died. You look around for the knight statue so you can do things right this time. Only this time, there is no statue. That's right. It fell into the void with you, but unlike you, it didn't respawn. Now, you have to restart the room and lose your progress. It's frustrating for sure. Thankfully, this only happened once. However, the fact that it happens at all is enough to take notice of.
As for the sound, it is limited. In fact, the sounds/music in the trailer (below review) are more than what I have heard in the 4 hours I played the game. I don't know if it was a technical limitation, resource limitation, or what, but for me the audio is sorely lacking. You will hear the constant background music in the world but there isn't much more than this. Sometimes when you expect a sound, there isn't one. The sounds that are present have a very low quality to them. When Flip gets hurt, the sound is recognizable as an "Oh!", or an "Ow!". The poor quality hurts worse than getting hit by an enemy. This oversight is one which should be addressed in future endeavors.
When a game includes background noises and has higher quality audio, players can become more immersed in the game. This can lead to gamers wanting to support the developers in their future endeavors. I know it does for me. I want to be able to hear Flip's footsteps as he races through the level. Or in cutscenes, I want to hear something. Anything! If I'm being harsh, it's because I see the potential for this game and want the team at Frozen North to get it right next time. On a positive note, the narration of Fulcrums journal is done by well known British actor, Anthony Stewart Head (best known as Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer). As a young adult, I was a fan of the Buffy show. To me, the inclusion of "Giles" is a nice touch.
Concluding Overall Impressions
Flip's Twisted World is a good game, but flawed. I can't overlook or forget the frustration I experienced while playing the game. Having said that, I was still entertained, challenged, and had fun with Flip's Twisted World. I think that the team at Frozen North did a good job for their first game. I believe they have the potential to do even better in the future. So, as a personal request to the guys over at Frozen North, please work on a sequel to Flip's Twisted World or even a brand new IP.
Final Score: 3 out of 5
I would have rated the game as a 4, but due to the glitches and lack of polish, I am leaving it at a 3. I would still recommend this to anyone who likes a challenge and is a patient gamer.
Our thanks to 'JHardin1112' for another good review!