REVIEWS -- Mighty Flip Champs! -- DS
Relish the flippin’ mighty challenges
by Peter Fiorilla
Fun factor: Fun
Worth to: Buy
You will flip over its retro charm and high level of difficulty, but it’s the strong level designs and creative concept that keep this tough platformer fresh.
Since its launch in April, DSiWare has accumulated a lackluster collection of bite-sized games. The lack of strong third party support has crippled the service’s initial image, and while some promising titles are in development, early DSi adopters eager to create their own downloadable collections do not have too much variety -- for the most part, there is crap and first party puzzle games. Then there’s Mighty Flip Champs.
A mighty flip into Retro platforming
A platformer not possible on any platform but the DS, Wayforward Technologies’ latest 2D sidescroller revolves around a simple but creative concept – “flipping.” The top screen is where the action takes place; it is where the player controls a small character in a screen-sized level. The bottom screen is home to an entirely different level and the top screen shows the character. By pressing any button, the screens switch (the character’s location stays the same).
The goal of Mighty Flip Champs is to reach a finish point that is teased in the levels’ first screen (of which there can be any number). It is impossible to reach the goal using a single screen -- rounds were designed so that all screens in a level must be used to reach the finish line -- and rounds often requires planning, memorization and skill to be conquered. Mighty Flip Champs is a difficult game and not for players unwilling to put a lot of effort into conquering it.
Those who relish the game’s challenge will appreciate how Wayforward managed to make an already fresh concept feel more original as the player progresses. Classic platforming-based objects (such as teleporters and buttons that can [de]activate platforms) make appearances in later levels, and the level designs get more and more sadistic with the passing of each round. The actual platforming is easy (the character can only walk and climb ladders), but creating a successful strategy to conquer some later levels feels like a legitimate accomplishment.
The harsh difficulty level turns out to be Mighty Flip Champs’ star attraction. Stat tracking records how many flips the player used and how long it took for them to reach the finish time. The game also has a local rankings system that grades the player based on their best time, and while this provides some incentive to replay levels, it would have been fantastic to have this system online. Leaderboards could have made this game a very competitive collection of challenging speed runs.
Those who sleep with their SNES or carry a copy of Retro Game Challenge with them at all times should appreciate Mighty Flip Champs’ retro aesthetics. Its old-school look is a bit deceiving, however this is a quality visual presentation head and tails above almost anything else on DSiWare. Characters are adorable, backgrounds look nice and the wide variety of colors used make the game have a somewhat cartoonish feel that is fitting in a downloadable title. The lower screen is a wavy mess; it looks like a fun-house mirror is between the player and screen. This effect looks nice and does not obscure any important information.
Equally charming is the soundtrack, a cute collection of moderately lengthy tunes and jingles. Succeed or fail, the soundtrack has the appropriate jingle waiting to inspire either confidence or determination. Sound effects are charmingly old-school and blend well with the rest of the game’s audiovisual presentation.
Mighty Flip Champs is DSiWare’s best application for experienced gamers, and even without online functionality, has enough content to more than justify its premium price of 800 points. The creative “flipping” concept skyrockets this puzzle-platformer to heights unmatched by any other third party on the DSi’s young service. While that may not be saying much by itself, Mighty Flip Champs has a lot going for it. It is not as if Nintendo’s going to start releasing DSiWare games not in the Art Style series anytime soon, and frankly, there is only so much Picto -- I mean, Mixed Messages a guy can handle.
Publisher: WayForward Technologies
Developer: WayForward Technologies
Release Date: June 1, 2009
Review Date: 13-08-2009
Numbers of Players: 1
Players Online: No
Notes: DSiWare, Wii Points: 800
A love letter to the era of 8-bit games, the retro aesthetics are more pleasing than almost anything else on DSiWare. Backgrounds look nice, sprites are cute and the color palette utilizes a wide variety of colors.
Those who relish a good challenge will be enamored by the creative concept and strong level designs. The core flipping mechanic works well by itself, but classic platform elements keep this fresh idea engaging.
Load times are virtually nonexistent and menus look fashionable. There are no online leaderboards/rankings of any sort, which would have been a great addition to a potentially competitive collection of speed runs.
Cute little tunes that are nice to listen to. Victory jingles inspire confidence, failure jingles form determination and sound effects are charmingly old-school.
A generous amount of levels and some incentive to replay them. Perhaps the best deal on DSiWare yet.