Inside Pulse 12

Review: Flipper 2: Flush the Goldfish (Nintendo 3DS/DSI)

Flipper 2: Flush the Goldfish
Publisher: Goodbye Galaxy Games
Developer: Goodbye Galaxy Games
Genre: Platformer
Release Date: 01/26/2012

Flipper 2: Flush the Goldfish is ostensibly a sequel to the 2010 DSiWare puzzle game Flipper. I say ostensibly because, despite coming from the same developer and having characters in common, the gameplay is nothing at all alike, from what I can gather. That was a puzzler, and this game is more of a twitch-action platformer.

The plot of Flipper 2 is the barest of bare-bones concepts. You play as the eponymous goldfish, whose owner has been kidnapped by some sort of devil-creature. Attaching your bowl to an unexplained robotic power suit, you journey through four different castles to rescue your loved one. That’s the long and short of it. The music and the art style reminds one of the classics of the 16-bit era, with a playful look to it, and a driving chiptune techno soundtrack; Flush’s robot outfit will definitely bring to mind the grand adventures of Earthworm Jim. It’s unfortunate, however, that the rest of the game fails to live up to these possibilities.

Upon first firing up Flipper 2, I felt a strange sort of déjà vu. This is essentially the same game as a flash game I played a few years ago called One-Button Bob, down to the counting of “clicks” and jump meters. Progress through the game is accomplished via a series of rooms. In each room, you can perform one action, be it ducking, jumping, shooting, sprinting, etc. To do this, you press the A button. I admire the minimalist attempt at a control scheme, but it does mean that the gameplay feels no deeper than a flash game I played years ago. Rooms are quick affairs, built around memorization and reflexes. Each castle features a number of rooms, broken up by two checkpoints. You have a set number of lives to get to the next checkpoint, otherwise you are sent back to the beginning of the section. When you are stuck on the last room of a section, getting sent back to the beginning quickly becomes an exercise in frustration, constantly replaying rooms you’ve already mastered.

This is an extremely short game. The main mode can be completed in under an hour, presuming you don’t get stuck for too long on any particular room. There are four castles to make your way through, each with a different environment; as you move through the four castles, the difficulty ramps up, with the final castle featuring some rooms which require split-second timing. Beating these rooms doesn’t provide much of a sense of satisfaction though; continual cheap deaths and repeating rooms means when you finally get past a stickler, you just feel relieved. Beating the main game opens up a random castle option. You select a difficulty and the environment, and the game will pull together a selection of rooms for you to traverse. After you complete at least one random castle, an editor becomes available for use, but it is utterly pointless. You can only save three rooms, and there is no way to share your levels with others.

Ultimately, Flipper 2: Flush The Goldfish is a cute diversion, but not worth the asking price. I enjoyed it back when it was One-Button Bob and it was free, but if I paid $5 for this, I’d feel like I’d been ripped off. The random castle feature is amusing, but unless you were genuinely entranced by the gameplay, I can’t see you using it. I can see it having better luck on the iPhone as a $1 app, but for the DSi, it’s just not worth the money.

The Scores:
Story/Modes: Bad
Graphics: Good
Sound: Good
Control/Gameplay: Mediocre
Replayability: Bad
Originality: Bad
Addictiveness: Bad
Appeal: Mediocre
Miscellaneous: Bad
Final Score: POOR GAME

Short Attention Span Summary:

Flipper 2: Flush The Goldfish isn’t a terrible game, but it’s not a good one, and not something anyone should pay for. The graphics and music are deserving of a much better game, and I hope that those involved see success in their field, but they’re not going to get anywhere working on games this shallow. The bonus modes, while a decent attempt, do not make up for the essential shallowness of the gameplay. Overall, a very disappointing experience.