Flipper was an engaging and imaginative DSiWare release: not only did it feature one of the more unique visual styles seen on the service, it had simple and addictive gameplay too. Rather than merely take that idea and run with it for the follow-up, developer Hugo Smits decided to mix things up and create a completely different game using a handful of the more charming characters from the first release.
You'll have to negotiate dangerous terrain in Flipper 2: Flush the Goldfish, but there's a catch: you only have one action button. To accomplish this one-button feat, each room features a different button command, ranging from tapping to run to ducking around a specific set of enemies or hazards. Since these button variations continually change from room to room, you'll have to stay on your toes if you're going to be prepared for the next challenge. Think One Button Bob, only with a bit more intensity and visual flair.
There are several modes to choose from, but you'll have to complete the game's Story Mode before the other modes become available. Story Mode pits you against four unique areas, each with a bevy of rooms to tackle. There are a couple of checkpoints in each area, but you only have a limited number of goldfish bowls with which to complete a particular section or it's back to the last checkpoint to try again.
There are two additional modes of play to enjoy after you've completed the Story Mode. Random Castle Mode throws a variety of different rooms your way in a completely random order; if you're feeling a bit creative, you can also use the game's unique level editor to create challenging rooms of your own. While the story might only keep you playing for an hour or so, there's a lot more replay value in the package for those who are willing to explore it all.
Flipper 2's simplicity is immediately appealing: it's amazing how much gameplay you can squeeze out of one button. The frantic pace will please gamers who like a little more intensity in their games, but since everything is moving so quickly, you've got to get a feel for glancing down at the bottom screen to find out what the button does before your character runs into his death on the top screen. It takes a little getting used to, but once you get the hang of it the experience is rather engaging.
As if having the gameplay amped up wasn't enough, the soundtrack and visual presentation also got a nice boost. Gone is the Voxel engine used in the first game, replaced with a nice collection of sprite artwork that really brings each area to life. The same can be said of the up-tempo soundtrack that carries the intensity and speed of the game quite well. It's obvious that Goodbye Galaxy Games was going for something a little different this time around and it works well with the new look and feel of the game.
While some may prematurely dismiss the game due to its simple gameplay design, Flush the Goldfish exudes charm. The main story mode itself is quite fun, and the random mode and level editor gives the package extra replay value. The experience won't appeal to everyone, but it's definitely a fun romp that proves that sometimes less is more.
We'll have a full review of Flipper 2: Flush the Goldfish shortly after its December 29th European release for 500 Nintendo Points.
Thanks to Hugo Smits for sending the preview build of Flipper 2: Flush the Goldfish.