There was a peculiar title called Flip Wars that stood out when Nintendo started announcing games that were in development for the Nintendo Switch ahead of the hardware’s launch. At the time it seemed like the sort of title that would flourish in hardware meant to be played anywhere.
Flip Wars wasn’t launched besides the Nintendo Switch, but it was still one of the initially announced titles that looked promising. The idea is to pit players and/or CPU controlled characters against each other in a bid to see who can flip the most panels in an arena by jumping on them. A certain number of adjacent tiles changes colour to the same one used by the character after a jump and any of these tiles can then be changed to other colours by opponents and so on.
To make it more interesting, characters can also launch other characters out of the arena if they are standing on a tile that is changing colour. Most of the maps also have gimmicks, like power-up items, added to try to make playing less repetitive. Players are given some control over the direction that the characters jump in and can even cancel jumps if necessary.
The main reason for playing Flips Wars comes in the form of three modes. Panel Battle is fairly straightforward, in that it merely consists of trying to flip as many panels to the character’s colour as possible within a time limit. Knock Out focuses on the aspect of launching opponents out of the arena and the character that does this the most times wins. Life Battle is similar to Knock Out, except that it’s about eliminating opponents a certain number of times. Props to the development team for trying to make good use of the simple game mechanics, but it ends up being a wasted effort.
The modes themselves are bit different enough to warrant playing each of them more than a couple of times at most. Given the lukewarm reception at launch it also means that the chance of playing online against human opponents was always going to be a slim one. It’s probably not the best use of Nintendo’s online service once it is necessary to purchase a membership to play online.
Even the possibility of playing locally against two or more human players is unappealing once players realise the severe lack of content. Which is actually bizarre given the title has been updated several times with the idea of adding further content.
Not that Flip Wars is a particularly bad game that should be avoided at all costs. The Panel Battle mode does a decent job of initially giving players a glimpse of how fun it can be to try to to flip as many panel as possible. Yet it’s also clear that this clever idea is wasted on a title that coasts by on offering the bare minimal in terms of content.
For example, there’s a couple of arenas with unique layouts and some have different rules, like being electrocuted or burned by lava if standing on certain panels. Yet it’s still lacking when it comes to giving players a reason to play for a long time.
Albeit it’s a fairly interesting concept that makes good use of the idea of a screen that can be shared to play with others anywhere, the lack of content makes it difficult to recommend buying this at full price.