While the Switch's hybrid nature and versatile Joy-Con controllers are key selling points for many owners, for a special sub-set of players the console's real hidden weapon is the fact that it can be used in portrait mode and therefore provide the perfect platform for classic vertically-scrolling shooters – of which there are plenty already available on the system.
The catch here is that you have to rest the Switch in a tabletop dock in order to play in this way, which, while not a complete disaster, rather limits its ability to function as a truly portable device. It's this thorny issue that engineer Mike "Mechachoi" Choi decided to tackle head-on when he started conceptualising the Flip Grip last year. On the surface, it appears to be a simple piece of plastic, but in practice, it's a game-changer for fans of 'TATE' shooters.
On its own, the Flip Grip seems almost inconsequential; it's a single, lightweight piece of quality black plastic which features a space for your Switch console and two rails down either side – no prizes for guessing what slots into those. Four fabric pads on the inside of the unit avoid any damage to the back of the console, while an orange button grips the Switch once it's in place, preventing it from sliding out of the Flip Grip accidentally. To eject the console, you lift the orange button on the back of the unit.
Once 'fully assembled', the Flip Grip feels solid and sturdy; you couldn't hope to expect for better build quality, even from Nintendo itself. The process takes seconds to complete and once done, you're ready to play those classic arcade shooters the way nature intended. Naturally, the Flip Grip only really works with games that allow you to rotate the display 90 degrees, but almost all of the vertically-scrolling shmups available on the console do this. We tested the Flip Grip with Psyvariar Delta, Ikaruga, Strikers 1945, Strikers 1945 II, Gunbird 2, Dragon Blaze and Gunbarich and it worked with flying colours.
Naturally, there are times when you have to interact with the Switch in a landscape kinda way, which can lead to some awkwardness, but it's by no means a deal-breaker and it's amazing how quickly you become accustomed to flipping directional inputs in your brain based on the display being turned 90 degrees. Moving around the Switch's main menu is a breeze as well, because you can simply use touch controls to navigate and select things, negating the need to use the stick or buttons.
The Flip Grip itself does cover the power and volume buttons, but again, this isn't a biggie; by long-pressing the 'Home' button on the right-hand Joy-Con you can access a pop-up menu which allows you to put the console into sleep mode or adjust the volume level. Thankfully, the Game Card slot remains unobstructed, so you don't need to remove the Switch from the Filp Grip to change your game. A slot on the back of the device even allows you to use it in tabletop mode; you can insert the card that comes with it (or any credit card) to turn the Flip Grip into a stand. If we were being really picky we could moan about the fact that you can't use Hori's D-Pad Joy-Con with the unit, as it doesn't provide any kind of power to the controllers, but that's perhaps expecting too much.
It's hard to really explain the difference the Flip Grip makes when playing TATE-enabled games without actually placing a console in your hands with the device in place. Obviously, from a control perspective, it 'feels' very much the same as ever; the distance between the two Joy-Con is smaller than when they're attached to the console normally but larger than when they're slotted into a Joy-Con grip; it's comfortable and never feels like it's going to flip out of our hands or anything like that. The real revelation here is that this ingenious little piece of plastic allows you to get the full effect of vertically-scrolling shooters; playing them in a narrow window – as is the case if you're using the Switch in its normal portable mode – was never a truly agreeable solution so this cheap and cheerful device really does improve things dramatically, and for just $12, it's an effortless recommendation for shooter addicts.
The Flip Grip is available for pre-order from Fangamer and is expected to ship in the middle of December.
Looks cool but I don't have any shooter games yet. May have to get some.
Backed mine a couple of months back on Kickstarter. Very very happy with the purchase indeed.
Ikaruga time, baby!
If I ever find myself really getting into this genre, I'll remember this. I rarely like this genre though.
EDIT : "Hardware Review: Flip Grip: The Dream Peripheral For "TATE" Shmup Addicts"
For Yoko Shoot'em ups who cares ?
Good for Zen Pinball too, they have a vertical option
I can't wait to get mine! I also backed it when it was first announced and it's reasonably priced too.
I backed this after the Nintendo life article way back. Can't wait to try it out.
Gonna play so much arcade Donkey Kong when mine arrives
Looking forwards to getting it...
About as simple and effective as I imagine something like this could be.
Next all I need to do is persuade my significant other that wall mounting the TV on a ROTATING mount is a good idea...
First piece of hardware I've ever backed, glad to hear it's everything they promised.
It’d be cool for Pinball FX3 too
That could become a 3DS/2DS killer
hooray for Pinball fx !
Isn't this device blocking the heat inside the switch ? those grids aren't masked by the joycons ?
Sounds great, i'll get one soon.
I mean, with all the tate games i have it'll definitely be worth it for me (Psyvariar Delta, Ikaruga, Danmaku Unlimited 3, Sisters Royale, Gunbird 1&2, Gunbarich, Strikers 1945 I&II, Samurai Aces, Omega Fighter, Star Force, Argus, some games on the Namco Museum, some games on the SNK 40th Anniversary Collection...).
Preordered mine on Fangamer a while back. Really excited to get it
I backed this on kickstarter as I wanted it to play pinball fx3.
Had a kickstarter update saying it will be shipped from 1st December. Glad to read the favourable review.
backed this,looking forward to it arriving.
Good to hear the build quality is sound. I didn't preorder one, as I don't own any vertical shmups on the system yet, but I'll definitely look into ordering one if that changes.
Backed this... Looking forward to trying it outn
Get it for Pinball, Shmups and old arcade hits like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong.
I have it preordered for pinball fx 3 and danmaku unlimited 3. A lot of the pinball fx 3 tables are 50% off on the NA eshop right now btw.
As others have said, this would be good for pinball... not sure if I will get it, but I will definitely keep it in mind.
Ah screw it... $12 and free shipping... Merry Christmas to me!
@Blister if you find a good rotating solution, post an update!
How is the weight distribution? I feel like it would be more comfortable if the joy cons we're raised a little higher.
Backed it from Germany. Hope to get it soon. Big fan of pinball and arcades. Nice to hear it's well produced. First-time Backer
@coderkind This is an example of a rotating bracket... https://cpc.farnell.com/multibrackets/7350022733497/m-vesa-wallmount-360-black/dp/ST04117?st=Vesa
@Damo "If we were being really picky we could moan about the fact that you can't use Hori's D-Pad Joy-Con with the unit, as it doesn't provide any kind of power to the controllers, but that's perhaps expecting too much."
Instead, moan at Hori for developing an inferior product. Not including an internal power source was a poor decision on their part as you can't use it unattached or with the grip, not to mention it's missing motion control support and launched with a severe firmware problem.
Didn't someone here once say that there are a bunch of games which only rotate the other way (270 instead of 90 degrees) so the options are more limited than you might think?
It would be cool if there was a joy con slot on the bottom so you can switch between TATE and normal handheld without taking the thing off
I think only The Pinball Arcade had that problem and they announced to fix it.
I was a backer too. Glad it turned out good
@infernogott oh, that's cool then. This product deserves to rock!
I'm not much for the Shmup genre but I went ahead and backed it for the classic arcade titles like Donkey Kong. I'll probably get Ikaruga at that time too since that was one of the few shmup's I liked.
What an amazing and high quality product! I love me some TATE shooter action on the go! Flip Grip backer!
First time I ever backed a project on Kickstarter. Can't wait to try it out when it ships next month.
This looks good. I wish Nintendo would use this to make DS games playable on switch
This was a no brainer purchase for me. Glad to hear it was one i wont regret.
Kinda cool I guess for fans of very specific games, I just don't think I would ever use it.
I want this SO bad for my 20+ Pinball FX tables. While taking one joy-con off and holding the system vertically is certainly viable this would make it so so much better. I am going to purchase today and hope it arrives ASAP!
I have a 3D printer and one Shmup on my Switch (Danmaku Unlimited 3), so I printed myself something very similar to this, and I have to say it works like a dream. Since I so easily printed my own, I'll never have a need for an actual product like this, but for anyone without a 3D printer and that loves Shmups on their Switch, I would highly recommend getting something like this.
I’m very tempted. It’s a good idea, well made, fair price and I love some TATE action but more damn plastic....
Hmmm. Very tempting indeed...
May have to seriously consider this for pinball fx3.
This would work great to bring Mario Run, Dragalia lost, fire emblem heroes, and animal crossing pocket camp to switch.
Just saying, they wouldn’t be the first mobile ports on the system, and they’re all at least good games.
Finally! Now we can play Punch-Out! the way it was meant to be played!
I've always just turned these games into horizontal shmups and played them sideways. Too much work to rotate my monitor or Switch just to play a few games.
Only thing I have ever kickstarted!
The next article will be, "Player beats Dark Souls with the Flip Grip."
Looking forward to receiving mine soon. This should be great for some arcade games, shooters like Ikaruga, etc.
As perfect as it is for vertical shooters, I would get it for mudd blocks and Downwell more, but that's just preference.
SOLD! Thanks for the awesome review! I’m really looking forward to this ‘little piece of plastic’.
There’s a lot of games on the SNK 40th collection that can benefit from this.
@TurboTEF To me, they just don’t play the same that way: the developers intended for your eyes to move vertically, and the play feels natural this way.
@Dayton311 It says it will arrive mid-December
looks good for shooters, and for pinball and Namco arcade. I'd probably pick one up if I found one cheap at a store.
Backed it for Zen Pinball, got sick of shemups back in the 90s
I want one, but I cannot find anywhere to buy one in the UK.
@Damo What, no link as to where I can buy it? Would be helpful and what you guys usually do.
@Spoony_Tech There are two links right at the end...
@Damo I guess those weren't as obvious to me, thanks for the heads up.
@Spoony_Tech No worries. We don't have the typical shopping buttons on this because it's not released yet, and most likely will only be available from Fangamer anyway.
Ordered one of these for Donkey Kong and Glaga 88.
Does any know if this will get a full release and if so will it becoming to the UK or will I have to import it I have looked on the site but can on see any postage price for the uk
@ANGRYBALDMAN666 Mine arrived today. 3$ postage to Germany. It's really a bargain. Great quality!
@SenseiDje It seems to block it half-way but it works fine. Played 4 hours of Pinball FX tonight: no troubles or device getting hot. I can totally recommend this device!
@sportvater Good to know ! thank you good sir for replying !
Get yourself a flip grip and you will never play games that support vertical play any other way. I also switched from the Skull & Co. Grip to the Satisfye Grip and Elite Case it's just more comfortable and easier to get on and off to use the flip grip.
I know this design will work for the shoot'em type of flying games as that gives a bigger viewing space. I will get one eventually here.
I believe Pinball FX3 (which is fantastic) can display in TATE mode too, so this would be fantastic for pinball on the go!
Been waiting almost a year for restock email
Tap here to load 73 comments
Leave A Comment
Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...