Hands-on at E3 / Flip’s Twisted World

The Wii makes me want to bash my head into a wall sometimes. There are so many great ideas for it out there that just get glazed over with a kiddie look and are rushed out with little care for controls. SPRay is a perfect example of this. A brilliant idea for the Wii with some clever execution, but marred by a lack of production values and glitches galore. Sadly it’s an occurrence that happens far too often.

Why do I bring up a horribly broken game before introducing you to Flip’s Twisted World? Because I’m desperately hoping that Flip‘s will not be a SPRay because it is definitely a game with a fantastic mechanic that has a kiddie layer over it. See, in Flip‘s you are put in control of an apprentice wizard who gets sucked into a world that he can control by rotating in any direction. Of course turning the Wii Remote rotates the world so you’ve got the actually useful motion controls down, but there are other reasons that I believe that Flip‘s might be a gem of a game hidden behind a sweet candy coating.

First off the guys behind the game are awesome. Frozen North Productions is making their first game, but that shouldn’t discourage you. In fact it’s impressive that their first game has been picked up by a pretty major publisher in Majesco. Secondly the game wasn’t originally destined for the Wii. Frozen North was making a XBLA game before they realized they had a great idea that could be more, so they jumped over to the Wii where the controls fit all the better for the game. So already you’ve got gamer designers and a game that was originally going to be released on a platform with a bit more adult leanings. See, it’s just a cute candy coating on it right now.

That’s not all though. In fact, if that was all I’d still steer you away as I could hardly say that most games aren’t designed by gamers. However, once I got my hands on the game I knew it had a chance. Why? The jump mechanic worked. That’s right, a kiddie looking Wii platformer with a jump mechanic that works and it isn’t Mario. You didn’t think it was possible did you? I was so flabbergasted by this that I spent much of my play time simply jumping around and not solving the massive puzzle that was the world I was in.

Every world is a big flipping puzzle with different goals and different challenges. I asked if the difficulty would be geared towards children and sadly the overall game will be, but I was told that there would be challenges that would play out for more grown up gamers. Flipping the world was easy (though still a bit glitchy as it was an early build) and it was clear that they had some great ideas for levels as I rotated through each one. There aren’t limitations to how you can flip or where you can fall and walk, so you can literally flip to any surface, and if you find something the devs couldn’t you could beat a level by flipping only once or twice. It’s just an immensely cool mechanic.

Of course there is some platforming too with a variety of powers to throw at the enemies. The basics all apply here: fire, ice, large books, mace… well, they’re kind of basics. The fighting didn’t wow me too much, but at least there is a bit more variety than just jumping on every enemy’s head as you do need to attack different creatures in different ways.

I know half of you are rolling your eyes just from looking at the overly large hat/mask thing that the young wizard is wearing in the image above, but let’s not forget that both Mario and Zelda (two games bravely mentioned by Flip‘s dev) have adorableness too. Maybe I’m just excited when I see someone doing something truly interesting on the Wii, but I’m hoping that what comes out of Flip‘s is exactly what I saw behind the large, doe-like eyes; a really cool puzzle platformer.