Flipper (DSiWare)

Game Review

Flipper Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

Will it really make you flip?

What began life as a mere tech demo for its creator's Voxel 3D engine somehow turned into a fairly hyped up DSiWare release that's gotten quite a bit of attention since it was announced last year. Not only that, but the game has undergone a major visual overhaul during the course of its development.

The ultimate goal in Flipper is to guide the boy to his captured goldfish. While this starts out quite easy, you'll soon be presented with many obstacles that will demand you to transform the landscapes in order to reach him. This is where the game's power-ups come into play: some power-ups will allow you to destroy parts of the landscape whereas others will allow you to repair and rebuild it. The Voxel engine allows you to pretty much destroy things at will with almost complete freedom, something that lends itself to creating an almost endless variety of ways with which to solve each level's puzzle.

Controlling your character requires little more than touching the desired destination on the touchscreen. If your character can reach the area indicated, he'll walk to that point. If not, you'll have to pick up and make use of the various power-ups strung around each of the game's levels. Using a power-up is every bit as simple as moving around – you need only click the power-up icon and then touch the area you wish to destroy or rebuild using the stylus. While the puzzles start out easy enough, you'll soon be faced with very tricky puzzles, not to mention enemies that you must avoid at all costs.

When you complete a level, you'll be given a score based on various criteria. You can even locate a hidden star in each level, something that gives the game a nice little layer of replay value. The controls are fairly responsive, although it does take a little getting used to. The camera controls can be a little sluggish at times, but they get the job done for those times when you have to rotate the areas around in order to survey the entire area. The simple and intuitive play controls do allow you to spend more time trying to figure out the puzzles and less time fumbling with a set of overly complicated controls.

Flipper isn't one of those games that's going to set new standards for visual flair, but its voxelated look does add a lot of charm to the overall experience. It doesn't hurt that the game's many areas are all very well drawn and extremely colorful as well. Toss in the nearly limitless freedom of altering terrain in each level and you have what is a very solid and often rewarding visual presentation.

As engaging as the unique visual style of the game is, it's the soundtrack that truly shines in Flipper. Not only are the tracks very fitting of the theme in each area, but they're also extremely catchy. It's also nice that the tracks tend to be fairly lengthy and varied enough as to not become repetitive during longer playing sessions. Most of the sound effects do a nice job of complimenting the game's background audio and the gleeful cheer of the boy each time he reaches his goldfish is a nice charming touch as well.


Personality and charm go a long way in digital download releases and luckily, Flipper has ample helpings of both. The Voxel 3D engine is impressive and there's plenty of fun to be had for those who can appreciate the game's unique presentation. The open and free environment makes for a wildly varied gaming experience, but sadly one that feels like it ends a bit too soon and tends to leave you wanting more. That being said, the ride is certainly fun while it lasts and not a bad value for 500 Points.

From the web

User Comments (35)



Percentful said:

I was sort of expecting a 7 based on the impressions. Great review! [though I still can't decide if I want to get it.]



Corbs said:

It's nice to see a developer trying something a little different. Keeps things a bit interesting.



pixelman said:

The art is so awesome that it deserves at least a 10. :3

must get a DSi blargh!



warioswoods said:

Good review. I've finished all the stages now (and retrieved all Stars), so I can certainly agree with your warning about the short duration of the game; however, as you suggest, it's well worth playing for the charm and unique freedom of the gameplay.

There are a few minor issues I'd love to see addressed in a sequel (or even a WiiWare sequel, taking advantage of the extra power), but it's a fun little game and unlike anything else on DSiWare.



primeris said:

Voxels! I've always wanted to play with those!

crap... have to get a DSi...



SherlockHolmes said:

I will buy this when it comes to Europe along with Dark Void Zero. It looks great! Great review Corbie!



NinJon said:

I just bought this and I haven't played it yet. I, for one, thinks 500 points is a very reasonable price, and it sure is on the nose for pricing. Some of these other games could (should) be 500 points instead of 800 points.

Well, enjoy!



EdEN said:

I got this yesterday and did the Tutorial and World 1 (with all starts) In about 15 minutes. Fun 15 minutes at that, but it seems the game IS indeed a short experience. Still, coming from an indie developer and for only 500 Nintendo Points, it's an experience deserving your $$$.



HugoSmits said:

Hey guys! I’m pretty happy with the review and the fact that I hear so much positive things about it! Thanks a lot everybody!

I would like to react to the duration of the game :
I planned it to be around 1,5 hour (as said in many interviews). I used some pretty harsh math for that : A normal retail DS game is about 10 hours for $50. So 1,5 hour for $5 made sense to me.

Another major problem for me was the level design. It was really hard to ‘trap’ the player, because the player has pretty extreme freedom when it comes to powerups. Because of this it took a very long time to design levels.

Every time I thought I had a solid level, somebody found a very easy way to complete it. And I had to take it back to the drawing board.

Also, I decided that I would rather have less ‘gameplay’ time but making the player have a really good time. Than a longer game which would feel dull.

It seems to me that a lot of games put in extra modes and content to justify a high price tag. I didn’t wanna do that.

I could probably make a world or two extra with all the levels I made, but didn’t include in the game. But I really just didn’t want to include levels that I didn’t like.

My next game will be a 2D game, and because of this it will be easier to create levels for. So I’ll probably aim higher for the duration, this time around.



warioswoods said:


I don't believe the game is unjustifiably short, but its length is such that Corbie is probably right to warn some potential purchasers that they may want to consider duration, if looking for the maximum bang for their buck.

I loved your level design, though, and I do see how difficult it must have been in order to keep some of these levels both challenging, on the one hand, but open to multiple solutions at the same time. You did a great job, particularly considering how rare it is to have one guy handle the concept, game engine, and all programming while also being the sole level designer.

By the way, DS retail games cost only $35 in the US, but your math will still work out to be pretty close, because 35 / 10 hours = $3.50 per hour, so your 1.5 hour game by this logic should cost about $5.25. Flipper would therefore be about a quarter cheaper, and well worth it for the originality of the game.



Blue_Cat said:

Lol, smits, your comment should be added to the review so no one misses it XD.
I'm considering this game seriously; it looks really unique.



HugoSmits said:

BTW.. my comment wasn’t because I didn’t like the review. I think a 7 is really fair. And Corbie said a lot of nice things about the game. So did most of you.

My comment about duration was just to show some insight into how it came to be. Just like I gave insight on a lot of things during development.

Because a lot of people had asked me about the somewhat short time, so I thought it would be cool to explain it



cheapogamer4life said:

Honestly I would have still purchased this game even if I known before hand that it would only last close to 2 hours to complete. Probably would thought about it for a while, but overall the feeling that for only 500 points I would have been apart of something bigger and hopefully help Mr. Smits release more great dsiware sooner seems a lot better then anything else. Im just use to getting a lot more for 500 points, but im sure I have a few friends( without a DSI) that would like to try this game out. So I guess Its kinda a can't lose type of deal for me.
Edit: "I planned it to be around 1,5 hour (as said in many interviews)."
@ Mr. Smits- Guess I must have missed that part in N lifes interview you did for them



Gizmo said:

@ HugoSmits: Do you know if there is already a European release date?
Thanks in advance for an answer =).



Rerun said:

Looks interesting enough but I still have to buy Dark Void and Chronos Twins before I get this.



MrDanger88 said:

"A normal retail DS game is about 10 hours for $50. So 1,5 hour for $5 made sense to me."

Here in the US, DS games are 30 US Dollars. I think I would feel really ripped off they were 50.



sylkirian said:

Yeah, I think it's a good 1,5 hours and it's not difficult so I think everyone will be able to finish it. Better than hard game that make me leave it unfinished (then move it to SD card). The bonus level isn't that amusing though, it's like power-ups demo .



grumblegrumble said:

After hearing one guy developed this and programmed it all on his very own, I am actually deleting my previous sour comment and instead I think we should all go support Hugo's effort. Impressive for one guy to achieve all this!



HugoSmits said:


Sure it was a lot of work to do on my own. But I think a game you pay for should be good, regardless of how many people worked on it!

If you read the review, you can see Corbie likes Flipper a lot. I think the ‘7’ is more related to the duration of the game than to the actual gameplay (that’s how I read the review).



HolyMackerel said:

@HugoSmits I'm actually glad to have a DSiWare game that I can FINISH and put on my SD card, because my DSi's internal memory is full! But next time I'd like to see more substance... I found I wanted to continue playing more since it's fun and unique, but there weren't any more stages. Maybe something like an endless mode for your next title would be good, they always seem to make DSiWare games better imo.

I'm glad I got this game upon release. Was happy to try it out so others could get first impressions before the review. A 7 is about right imo. Very good game.



warioswoods said:


If you're looking for more gameplay, check out the Impressions thread in the DSiWare forum and look at my high scores; if you haven't reached those, you've still got alternative solutions left undiscovered. I ended up putting in a lot more than 1.5 hours (probably more like 3 in the end), due to the fun of trying to maximize points on every stage.



EdEN said:

I recently replayed the game and I'm on "highscore" hunting for the moment which should be fun.



xxx_Kirby_xxx said:

I am seriously considering getting this game. It would probably take me a while to complete, as I am one of those people that likes to go back through the levels to collect all the bonuses and highscores and whatnot, (as I am currently doing in Aura-Aura Climber). Cute banner! The visuals look amazing, I thought the game seemed a little, well, meh, but now... Wow. I really am thinking about getting this game. I'll have to see if I'm allowed to, though. Honestly, I'm only supposed to be buying 200 point games with my 2000 points (as a way to get more games), but I'm convinced now.... I AM GETTING THIS GAME I just hope it's not too short, as I like lengthy (or somewhat) games.



xxx_Kirby_xxx said:

Hmm, actually, maybe I'll pass and just wait for new games to be released in UK/EU..... I've already spent 600 points on Aura-Aura Climber, Pop Island Paperfield and Bird & Bombs.... All great games, though. Highly recommend 'em.



TG1 said:

Having just beaten Color Commando (and enjoying it a lot) I wanted to check out Hugo's earlier works. I think Flipper is a blast, and the scoring system (something I regret CC not having) makes the game have good replay value. I'd give it an 8 myself, and encourage all DSi/3DS owners to check it out if they haven't done so yet.

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