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Flip Out! (Jaguar) artwork

Flip Out! (Jaguar) review


"When I purchased Flip Out, a puzzle game for the Atari Jaguar, my expectations were not high. Classic puzzle games like Tetris, Bust A Move and Chu Chu Rocket are already part of gaming legend. Flip Out is not, and with good reason. It is one of the most ill-conceived, badly designed and just plain crappy games I have ever played. "



When I purchased Flip Out, a puzzle game for the Atari Jaguar, my expectations were not high. Classic puzzle games like Tetris, Bust A Move and Chu Chu Rocket are already part of gaming legend. Flip Out is not, and with good reason. It is one of the most ill-conceived, badly designed and just plain crappy games I have ever played.

Flip Out basically breaks the cardinal rule of puzzle gaming, it is too complicated. A puzzle game should not need a twenty-eight page manual explaining the rules of the game. Puzzlers should be the essence of pick-up-and-play gaming. What a puzzle game should not have you doing is pausing the game and frantically leafing though the manual to try and figure out why you keep failing over and over again.

Flip Out is a tile flipping game. You begin with a patch of tiles which are all one colour except for one, which is a different colour. The tiles are arranged so you must flip the odd coloured tile into another place on the grid. Once you begin flipping you can't stop. All the tiles float into the air and you must move a cursor around the grid and hit the select button to keep the tiles flipping round.

The tiles slowly float in the air, turn over and descend to their new locations, but you can only flip them across one grid square at a time. So while the tiles are lazily turning in the air you must keep selecting new locations to flip them to until the odd coloured tile finally gets flipped into the right spot. But here comes the hilarious catch, if you let all the tiles settle without the odd coloured tile finishing in the right spot, then you lose. So you must keep all the tiles in the air until you are sure you are done.

Uh... well I hope you understood all that. That's just easy mode, in the harder modes you don't even get told where you need to flip the odd coloured tiles, its just a case of randomly stabbing the select button on various points of the grid until you by chance land the tile in the correct spot. Can you spot the flaw in this game yet?

In later levels, more complexity is added to the mix by the various ''characters'' taking over your grid and flipping tiles themselves or changing the tiles colours, or actually climbng on the tiles and preventing you flipping them. Yes, the game actaully has a plot believe it or not..

You have been selected by the inhabitants of the planet Phrohmaj (fromage, cheese, geddit?? Nurse!! the side-stapler!!!) to take part in the annual tile flipping festival. You flip tiles in various locations, from Planet Earth to other Alien planets. This all leads up to a showdown with King Fluffy, if you beat him you get to be the new ruler of the Planet Phrohmaj. Now there's an incentive to finish the game.

The actual graphics are incredibly lame. The moving graphics have been crudely slapped over a pre-rendered background. They all have a bizarre fuzzy outline and about three frames of animation. The response of the tiles to your command inputs is slow and laboured, which becomes even more frustrating when the pace of the game speeds up. The sound is generic, speed written tosh that has you reaching for the volume control about thirty seconds beofre you reach for the console off-switch.

There really is nothing to recommend this game. Its self-conciously ''wacky'' manual and feeble attempts at humour only have you fondly wishing for the madcap lunacy of Bub and Bob and a bit of bubble bursting action. The most entertaining thing about this game for me was the front of the manual where it advise you not to ''bend, crush or submerge'' your cartridge in liquids. Hmmm, what a good idea...

Rating: 1/10

falsehead's avatar
Community review by falsehead (March 08, 2004)

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