FLIP: nice try, but not yet ready

IMG_0001.PNG The app FLIP is a combination of a Bejeweled-like match-three game, a tilt maze and a match-and-vanish puzzle. So in principle, there are many very interesting puzzle concepts combined into one neat little package. However, the execution leaves much to be desired, and the level-design is not very challenging. So, I really cannot recommend this app just now, but I will keep an eye on any updates.

The screenshot at the right shows the “puzzle” mode, which is basically a tilt maze. All colored blocks move by tilting the iPhone. When they come to rest on the correspondingly colored tile, then the block vanishes. When the blocks just move over their corresponding tile, it does not vanish. However, different from other tile mazes, the different goals do not have to be reached simultaneously, but can be approaches one after the other. This makes it mostly rather simple.

IMG_0002.PNGThe screenshot to the left shows the “speed” mode, which is a variant of the match-and-vanish principle. In this mode, you have to bring together all blocks of a color, and then these blocks all vanish. This is an interesting new variant from the Vexed-principle, where two or more touching blocks immediately vanished, and the Bejeweled-inspired puzzles, in which three of more touching blocks vanish. In FLIP, the number of blocks of a color that have to touch is presented on the bottom of the screen (and mostly this number is the total number of blocks of that color).

Unfortunately, the “speed” puzzles are times (as indicated by the name), and when you don’t finish 3 times 5 levels in time, you will have to start all over again! That is very unfortunate (not to say inexcusable). As I have been repeating all along in this blog: please give the user complete freedom to choose a level in a puzzle game! And it is no fun doing puzzles under time pressure. The only reason time pressure is needed is to masque simplistic puzzles. This holds only to some extent here, because some levels are actually tricky.

So, nice try, but not yet ready for mass adoption. Except for free level choice and removal of time pressure, also the interface needs an overhaul. First, the font of the texts is too small. Second, when tilting the device, the whole user interface turns, which is very distracting. Even worse: the tilting of the user interface feels more sensitive to movement of the iPhone than the blocks (actually, the developers explained to me that this is factually not the case). Finally, you have to reset the game to switch modes, and achievements are not saved. So, you’ll have to start all over again. Not fun.

[Text slightly revised on 23 January 2009 after feedback of the developers.]

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2 Responses to “FLIP: nice try, but not yet ready”

  1. Antony Says:

    I have this game; however, I completely disagree with your review. I’ve been up late at nights playing it and think it’s a great game. I guess these types of games isn’t your thing. I would definitely recommend this game to anyone. You FAILED to mention the standard mode, you also FAILED to realize that IS fun to do puzzles under time pressure for some people, so just because you were to incompetent to do the puzzles doesn’t make the game a bad game. Conclusion, this review has FAILED.

  2. michael Says:

    Dear Antony,

    thank you for your opinion. I think it is very helpful for the readers to realize that I am not the only person in this world.

    Indeed, I didn’t like the game, and maybe the reason is that this is not ‘my kind of game’. However, I actually think that the “puzzle” and the “speed” mode could be my kind of game, and I pointed out what I was missing, giving some arguments why I think FLIP is not perfect for me.

    What else do you expect from a review, if not it to be a personal opinion?


    PS. I mentioned the ‘standard’ mode in the first line of the review, referring to it as a ‘Bejeweled-like’ game.

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