Flipping Death (Switch eShop) Review
Flipping Death. It sounds like someone who doesn’t like to swear exclamating their disgust, or perhaps anger in reaction to something which deservedly requires the use of adult language yet doesn’t want to use it. Possibly they’re in mixed company or have a child in their care that they don’t want to be responsible for some new vocabular teachings. Sure, that’s one thing it could be. It’s also the name of a charming and hilarious indie game from Zoink! It’s a game totally worth playing. Alright then? Hop to it. End of review.
Hmmm. You don’t seem satisfied. Understandable. What if I suggested that if you garner exquisite joy from playing well written, funny, puzzling adventure-platformer games, taking place in a beautifully crafted world, then Flipping Death is for you. Would that be enough to satiate your needs?
Stop looking at me like that. You’re giving me the willies. Almost like you want me to fall down a hole and die. That’s very macabre of you. Perhaps you like that kind of thing. Just like Penny, the main character, who I imagine you’d relate to quite well. She does what we should all do. She finds the joy and light in the darkness, and on a deeper level celebrates life in death and the horrors which life can bring. It makes me think of this misquote from Penn Jillette — “Like a kid who puts rubber cement on his face to look like a burns victim, not to celebrate a burns victim, nor with the desire to be one, but to express what it means to be healthy and alive.” That’s how I see Penny. Then again, she just might like how she looks with a set of plastic devil horns on her head. Either way, as my foreshadowing suggested, she falls down a hole and dies. Take it easy! It’s okay. I’m not ruining the story here. This is what the game is about.
Somehow, early in the adventures of her afterlife, Penny falls into the role of Death’s temp worker. The thing is, she’s not actually going around reaping souls, more like helping them with there issues. I guess kinda like the Link (The Legend of Zelda fame) of the spiritual world, helping out ghosts with their issues, that they themselves could never get sorted. That’s because they don’t have the ability to flip between their world and that of the living. Get it now? Flipping Death.
Penny has the capabilities to possess the body of anyone who still lives in the mortal world. Be it a little girl, a doctor, a policeman or even a dog. Not to say she can just do it willy-nilly. Oh no, it requires the consumption of these weird spectral spirit-like things. That’s not too much of an issue though, as there is an abundance of them flying around the place and you’ll likely collect more than you’ll ever need. There are some people you want to possess that are a little more headstrong and require special spectral spirit-like things. Sometimes you get them by surviving the likes of a netherworld creature. Other times you need to put your platforming skills to the test by collecting them in a certain, undefined time limit.
As for the platforming, it’s pretty straightforward. Moving and jumping. One thing about the jumping that I had to get used to, and this is more than likely just me, was not holding the jump button down too long, otherwise I’d jump again as soon as I landed. Again, this could just be me. Another thing to help you traverse the world is Death’s Scythe. It works kind of like a boomerang. You throw it somewhere and then teleport to it. That’s actually nothing like a boomerang. It’s great for getting to those hard-to-reach areas.
The best part about being able to possess people is learning everyone’s stories. Not only do they divulge this information by chatting with other characters and nonchalantly speaking out loud to themselves when no-one else is around, but you can also have a conversation with them in their own head. This is where a lot of the comedy gold comes from. As you take control of the various bodies in the world you discover that they all have an ability that is going to help you out in some way or another. There’s usually a few things going on at once too, so it’s not often a hunt to find the one person who can solve your one problem. If you do get a little stuck there’s a built-in hint system on the pause screen that shows you bunch of drawings of things you need to do. I’ll admit, once I discovered it, I looked at them every time I started a new chapter. Also to help out is a map screen with locations of everyone you’ve discovered, who you can then teleport to, and skeletal hand pointing in the direction you might need to go. Very… Handy…
Once you finish with the story you get the humble task of being able to go back into each of the seven chapters to complete a list of tasks. Sure, you can go ahead and try to do them at the same time as the main game, that’s completely your prerogative. Just know, if you don’t manage to do them all you will have the opportunity to revisit them whenever you like. It’s not just for the heck of it either. You earn cards with different character art and descriptions on them.
One thing I feel obliged to mention is when I first started the game I did come across a glitch that didn’t allow me to continue. I’d possess someone who was required to solve a puzzle, but when I did they’d either get stuck in the floor and not be able to move, or if they would move I couldn’t exit the building they were in. Quitting and loading didn’t help and I had to start again. Thankfully this was at the very start of the game and the only time I encountered any issues at all.
Everything about the game is a bright shining star. The story and character design, the voice talent, music and art style. If I was going to compare it to something, which I’m going to, I’d say it’s on par with that of a Tim Schafer game. This is only a good thing. Flipping Death is a fun tale with a mostly laid-back gameplay style, possibly just a tiny bit too short. Another chapter or two certainly wouldn’t be a hindrance, but still, the replayability is there with the challenges to go back and visit.
- Hilariously written
- Beautifully crafted
- Some replayability
- A little too short
- I personally had a game breaking glitch