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Flip's Twisted World


In a word: frustrating
Playing ...And Yet it Moves on the Wii was such a fun, organic experience, because the mechanic of manipulating the world was tied in so directly to how you played the game. The idea of taking that control scheme and applying it to a 3D platforming game is an awesome concept, and Flip's Twisted World is the result of bringing that concept to life. Flip is a wizard's apprentice who ends up getting transported to a magical realm that he has to fight his way out of, facing off against his master's other apprentice, Axel. To move through the uniquely-designed levels, you have to turn and twist perspectives, using the magic of the multi-personality cube that travels with you.

flip twisted world blue suit

Gameplay:

There are six levels to travel through, blending traditional platforming play with puzzle-solving, with a healthy dose of hunting and finding, as you battle an array of foes and pick up coins and power-ups, on your way to a boss battle at the end of each. You're not going to face off against a lot of enemies at any time, hitting them with your magic book, as it's more about navigating the levels with the twisting abilities, which you'll be doing often, since there are many points where the path through the non-linear game is rarely clear-cut, requiring you to utilize a bit of trial and error to find your way. The level designs are relatively extensive, as you get plenty of areas to explore and lots of opportunities to turn things around, often letting you travel across both sides of a surface, but there are some difficulties to attempt to overcome.

When trying to complete a quest, which you are occasionally sent on by the denizens of the magic world, it's not quite clear exactly what you're supposed to be doing. There was one level, where you must move statues onto buttons, and as I climbed a tower, a short cutscene was shown, where literally nothing happened. Usually, that would be the opportunity to share a clue, but it just kind of existed there. I even went to the character shown to see if he had anything to say, and he just repeated the same lines he had before. A lot of times, you're just guessing about what to do next, as there are few prompts to help you out.

Once you figure things out, you'll realize the game is actually really well-designed, but just loaded with quirks that annoy and confuse. One of the biggest has to be the way you "die." If you turn the screen the wrong way and end up in the void, you'll restart at the last checkpoint (another point of frustration, as you can't "re-check," and since the game isn't linear, you will find yourself restarting far earlier in the level than necessary.) But if you turn the screen and fall a bit too far and hit land, you die, and restart at the beginning of the level. It's far too easy to kill yourself accidentally with a fall, and end up restarting a level, which will make you punch your TV when traveling one of the harder sections. Why checkpoints don't work the same way for falling and dying is a mystery that makes things harder than they need to be.

flip twisted world attack mode

The gameplay seems incredibly glitchy, as things happen for random reasons. Attempting to open a locked gate, I accidentally launched Flip into oblivion, and when the play resumed, suddenly the gate was unlocked. At another point, I completed a section, got a cut-scene, waited through a brief loading screen, only to find the level had restarted, with every coin, enemy and objective back in place, but oddly, it was still "complete" and I could move onto the next level by moving ahead. This wasn't a one-time thing either, since I experienced this multiple times while playing.

The power-up system, which lets you add new elemental abilities to your attack, including a smashing blow, freeze capability and an electricity attack, is more about strategy, as these power-ups are more useful in progressing through levels than improving your weaponry. But the costumes you can change into, which are available through in-game merchants, do help your character quite a bit, by making you invisible to enemies, enhancing your speed or protect you from damaging blows. While most of the items sold by the merchants, like the health portions, armor and checkpoint power-ups (which help alleviate the Void vs. Death issues), only cost you the coins you'll find all over (and are provided as payment for quests and in hidden treasure caches), the costumes require you have special platinum coins (in addition to the usual currency.) These tend to be hidden, giving you incentive to look all over the place. It's actually a nice, organic way to extend the game play and give the player a tangible in-game reason to explore, instead of the usual unlockables, like concept art.

Online Play

There's no online play involved in this game.

Controls

The controls are naturally the most important part of this game, since so much of it is about manipulating the world around you, and unfortunately the controls are rather weak. In the Wii version of ...And Yet it Moves, the ability to twist the world with a turn of the Wii-mote at any time made it great fun, but here, you can only change perspectives, 90-degrees at a time, when standing still, which is a big momentum killer. It only gets worse when you mistakenly turn the world the wrong way and send yourself into the void, with no way to save yourself. It's far too easy to twist your wrist the wrong way (even if there is a useful on-screen indicator that you're turning the wrong way.)

flip twisted world upside down

The movement of your character via the analog stick is a tad loose, which forces you to second-guess every movement, especially when jumping from platform to platform. Part of it is issues with the camera (see The Graphics) but the breezy way you move will make you nervous. There are also issues with dragging objects to solve puzzles, as the action is inconsistent, sometimes happening, but frequently not. One moment, where Flip had to move a statue a few feet, took eight or nine intensely frustrating tries to complete a simple task, just because the controls wouldn't click. The attacks are also a bit unbalanced, as the Wii-mote gesture attack with your book (both standard and powered-up) doesn't work quite right, while it's much easier and more effective to just use the powerful jump attack, which hammers down on your enemies with a pair of button presses.

Achievements

There are no achievements to be had.

Graphics

A with all Wii games, the graphics can earn a pass simply for making an effort, and there certainly was an effort here, with lots of detail in Flip's design (there's nice detail in treads of his boots, which you rarely see) and in the level designs, which are spread out and airy to facilitate twisting. One scene, set in a church, is actually rather beautiful. Unfortunately, technical issues drag down the creative elements, as there's a ton of aliasing everywhere, and the camera positioning is frequently abysmal. You can move it around and zoom in and out, but in the middle of gameplay, the last thing you want it to have the camera suddenly zoomed in so far the screen is filled by Flip's eye, and you have to take the time to adjust it. Sometimes, the camera ends up beneath the ground, and you're looking up at nothingness. Or you'll walk between rooms, lose sight of Flip and walk off a ledge. Like so much of this game, the camera is frustrating.

Sound

The audio is good, but like so many Wii games, the characters don't speak, instead using Peanuts adults-style warbling and text boxes to get the dialogue across. There is some fine narration though during cut scenes and when reading the journal entries you find. Other than that, the game features solid scoring by industry music star Tommy Tallarico, which delivers an appropriate wizardly atmosphere (think a Disney-eque Harry Potter), along with good sound effects.

And in the End...

I'm not happy with having to slam this game, because I know a lot of work went into it and I'm always looking for a good Wii game to play, but it just was not fun to play, especially having enjoyed the two Super Mario Galaxy games, which are just lightyears ahead of this title. The concept is certainly good, and the design work, in the visuals, level design and music, is impressive, but the implementation just doesn't work the way you'd want it to.



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