I thought I was prepared for the whimsically, weird ride I’d hoped for when I was lucky enough to receive a Nintendo Switch version of Flipping Death by Zoink Games but I came to realize pretty soon that I was not – for both fascinating and frustrating reasons.
Flipping Death is the story of Halloween and spooky fan girl Penny who unfortunately dies turning up at death’s door where Death itself mistakes her for their temporary substitute quickly exiting to go on holiday leaving her with the task of fulfilling their usual deathly duties. Her clumsy quirkiness, uncertainty, and humor captured in the opening minutes set the scene for whats about to unfold in this 2D platformer dressed in voice acting and adorned in art design that captivates your attention with every step you take.
Of course, I started the game disorientated as one often does starting a new game but once I got used to the ZR functionality, the platform part of this Nintendo Switch title is perhaps the easiest part of the entire game which I admit I found a little puzzling (no pun intended.) Platformers aren’t usually a genre I appreciate as much as others never really playing any except Donkey Kong in my teenagehood via our family owned arcade but I have seen plenty, admiring those that enjoy the usual levels of high challenge progression platform games offer that is almost non-existent in Flipping Death. On the bright side, that means folks like me that don’t usually play this genre can enjoy the game more than we might, were it true to platform game nature.
Speaking of gaming nature. The most ingenious mechanic in Flipping Death is that as you meet each “lost soul” character, you get to take them over zapping yourself into their story to solve their lost soul mystery while they lived just by pressing X (should you have enough points from collecting spirits you’ll find along your path.) Unfortunately, figuring this part out happened by complete accident the first time so I would wander around without a clue for a good while afterward until it would happen again as I mashed all my Switch buttons hoping something would show me how I did it prompting me to retrace steps quickly once I discovered how this occurs.
Flipping between the spirit and living worlds adds extra layers x1000 to creative design that already has so many layers without it. The environmental art reminding me of pop-up books I use to love as a kid. I can’t help but imagine if 1988 Fantasy/Horror movie “Beetlejuice” ever got a pop-up book it would look a lot like the world of Flipping Death – they both share the same vivid, yet sombre artistry as well as humor that’s often dark but silly enough to not come across as serious.
I stumbled a lot playing Flipping Death which I don’t mind if I’m still progressing. However, I didn’t feel like I was achieving any progress often making the game more frustrating than I would like. Luckily there is a hints section available which I tried so hard not to use but had to in the end, saving me both time and wrinkles on my furrowing forehead. Frustration aside Flipping Death definitely sounds, looks and reads like the whimsically weird ride I mentioned in the very beginning as the content is brilliant in many places. Their are a lot of “light-bulb moments” when your brain lights up with the solution to each souls story that will see you face-palm as the answer seems obvious in some places (as clues often are once you discover the answer) but there are also liberal amounts of confusion and mystery that keep you guessing right up to the end.
I have no doubt in my mind that everyone who worked on Flipping Death would have had a crazy time developing this game. Tipping my hat at the thought process sometimes offered but even now as I sit here I feel a little-unfinished thinking about that end because it made me realize I wanted Penny to win, yet I’m not quite sure what I wanted her to win which makes me wonder if I missed something. Maybe her journey will continue again in the future? If not I think the only way Zoink Games could make this up to me is by making an entire game dedicated just to “the” seagull because I too have a silly sense of humor! Hands down the most memorable character in the game filled with characters that add the most colorful layer to the world of Flipping Death.
Altogether, there are some kinks in the road of the Flipping Death journey but its an adventure still worth taking knowing the game itself takes approximately 7 hours of your time. Flipping Death is the second title I have played from this Swedish game developing team, Fe was the first and my first Nintendo Switch game next to Zelda: Breath of the wild which came with the console. Thanks to these two games I cannot wait to see what they get up to next!