23rd Aug2018

‘Flipping Death’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Britt Roberts

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Set in the very aptly named town of Flatwood Peaks, Flipping Death is a 2D adventure with the twist, or rather a ‘flip’ that you traverse between the worlds of the living and the dead at the touch of a button. Whilst the humour, inherent charm and striking visuals are all well-used, the off-the-wall factor can sometimes impede enjoyment.

Playing as the recently-deceased Penny, the player takes control of our teenage heroine just after she falls to her demise in a mausoleum and is quickly handed a scythe by Death, who decides to take a well-earned vacation to the moon… because there’s no people, alive or dead, for thousands of miles, obviously. Penny’s sharp wit, sassy attitude set the tone of the game, where every character is larger than life and full of individuality. As she collects various souls in order to temporarily take over living humans, each of whom sport a very specific ability that can handily solve sections of the current quest, the game is at its best. The joy in Flipping Death is in the interaction with the colourful characters, hearing their stories and listening to their catch-phrases (and inner thoughts) as you work out what to do next. The music is jaunty and the art-style is really unique and suits the brand of humour perfectly. The ability to collect souls and interact with ghosts, hearing their deathly tales (all told in a wonderfully overdone comedic style) then flipping to the ‘living’ world and meeting all the wacky characters gives an extra dimension (literally) to puzzles in seeing how certain actions in one world can affect the other.

Aside from the main quests there are also hidden quests that pop up whenever you complete certain actions in the game with specific characters, unlocking humourous information cards which rewards exploring the initially small area which opens up further as the plot moves forwards.

There are issues, however. The movement and platforming feels floaty and imprecise and whilst this isn’t a massive issue as platforming isn’t the main focus, it still makes movement a slight chore, as does the screen transition when running along, which isn’t as smooth as it could be. It wouldn’t be so much of an issue but due to the art-style, the game is very busy visually, sometimes making platforms and objects hard to discern from background props. The characters constantly spout their catchphrases and talk randomly as you move them around and although the dialogue is at first really funny and irreverent, after a while it does become tiresome, so it’s best to move through the story at a solid pace before the repetition kicks in

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In terms of difficulty, the zaniness of the game’s design bleeds through to the puzzles that are woven into the narrative, it’s all very tongue-in-cheek (or tongue on ship, wink wink) and idiosyncratic in a really fun way so be prepared for some pretty novel ways of solving even seemingly simple puzzles such as opening a tin of paint or flicking a switch, for example.

In summary, Flipping Death is a fun game to play through with a great sense of humour that exudes throughout. There are some moments where you’ll get stuck but the built-in hint system guides you along in moments of difficulty in just the right way and the story clocks in at around six hours so there’s a solid amount of game play here. I can imagine that the style of humour won’t gel with everyone and maybe the repetition in some aspects will be a source of mild irritation but that’s only if you stay in one place too long and it’s clear that this is game meant to be breezed through, enjoying the design and interaction between characters as opposed to inching your way through impenetrable, mind-boggling puzzles and that’s absolutely fine with me.

Right, I’m off to poke a load of random people on the street.

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