Title: World Flipper
Developer: Cygames, Citail
Release Date: 09/09/2021
Reviewed On: Android
Publisher: Kakao Games
Genre: Mobile, Gacha, RPG, Action, Pinball
If you have tried as many mobile games as I have, chances are that your YouTube ads have been clogged with World Flipper promos for several months now, starting long before its eventual release. While ordinarily, as a player, I am averse to anything that gets so boldly shoved into my face, I admit that the idea of a gachapon game with pinball as a combat system was intriguing to me. Developer Cygames is well-known for the quality titles they produce, and the art style looked very appealing, so I gave in and pre-registered, hoping for the best. And once the servers were actually stable enough to play, I’m happy to say I wasn’t disappointed.
World Flipper has players constructing teams of three (with three backup units) to bump, slam, and dash their way through boards of enemies. The first feeling that jumped out to me was that this was the very opposite of many of the mobile games I’ve covered in the past. For example, I often complain about auto-battle titles that don’t give the player a compelling reason to actually engage with the gameplay since the computer can do it better.
The major difference with World Flipper is that the pinball combat is actually fun. It depends on your own skill as a player, in addition to the luck of the draw, and the computer is actually rather inadequate at it. There is an auto function, but it’s really only good for fights you’re really over-leveled for, and you’ll still feel like you’re missing out on the chance to actually play the game, which is a fun blend of mastering ricochets, timing your skills, and dodging bullet hell attacks.
The other side of the gameplay, as usual, is your character progression. I really appreciated that World Flipper doesn’t have you just picking and choosing your upgrades from a menu but instead has you advancing across a board of skills and enhancements that are simple to understand. So many gacha titles will bury the player in customization options and chance-based upgrades, and being able to see that I’m making progress towards tangible boosts is always a welcome feature.
As is typical for Cygames, the art style really takes the cake. The character portraits look standard yet endearing, but the real visual treat here is the pixel aesthetic used in combat and cutscenes. The character sprites are tiny (so that they don’t obscure the action during combat). Still, there’s so much movement and so many enjoyable animations and effects sprinkled liberally throughout the game that I would honestly call this title “eye candy.” It’s flashy in a genuinely charming way that only enhances the way the game feels.
The plot of World Flipper is no slouch either. Each distinct world of the game brings the growing party of characters to a totally new location, where they meet engaging denizens and get caught up in emotional stories of betrayal, possession, corruption, and sometimes even death. The energy in which each tale is told keeps the tone somewhat light-hearted, but I was pleasantly surprised by the twists and turns in what is usually an unimportant side note in experiences like this.
Of course, the component that ultimately holds this game back is the gachapon system. As much praise as I’ve given to World Flipper thus far, any game experience is necessarily held back if it’s built around directing the player to spend money on a virtual slot machine that likely won’t give them the digital boon they actually need. While the pre-registration and launch bonuses are pretty generous, games of this genre are still just not as qualitative as they could potentially be due to this constant need to encourage these financial transactions, and there’s always the persistent feeling that I could be doing more damage if I just sunk some money into it to spin the reels for a rare character.
I can confidently say that World Flipper is my favorite mobile title I’ve picked up this year, and that’s a fairly crowded field in 2021. I can actually see myself trying to keep up with it beyond what I played for this review, and given how many corpses of abandoned games’ pasts live in my Google Play account, that’s an undeniably solid bar to clear.
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