Flip might be a puzzle game, but it isn’t like The Talos Principle or The Witness. Perro Electrico’s puzzler is much more in line with an app you’d play on your phone, and that’s exactly how you played Flip when it first released on the Windows Phone, Google Play, and Kindle app stores (as well as on Windows) in 2014. In the two years since its original release, Flip hasn’t changed. Players still ‘flip’ blocks around to solve puzzles; they flip blocks to match certain sequences, to untangle wires, and to piece together pictures. Now Flip is back with its Greenlit Steam version that promises better progression, a star system, replay capabilities, and various interface improvements.
These new bells and whistles are cute; nevertheless, Flip doesn’t feel at home on the PC. Its static orange background, very limited selection of music (a title theme and soothing, ambient background sounds), and basic graphical fidelity come off less purposeful and more low-budget. A short play session punctuated by the solving of a puzzle works for the mobile market, but when you sit down at your PC the same puzzles feel out of place scaled up to desktop-size.
A star system implies a sense of progression, but after completing a few puzzles almost everything is unlocked. Like money in an RPG, stars quickly lose their meaning because you’ve earned so many of them so quickly; furthermore, what these stars unlock isn’t particularly compelling. Earn enough stars and you unlock harder puzzles, but harder puzzles don’t introduce new mechanics or reward players differently – new puzzles just increase the number of blocks players are to contend with.
Flip lacks frills but its puzzling is fun. Aiming to solve each puzzle in the suggested number of moves rapidly becomes challenging and satisfying. Sometimes you get an intensely complicated puzzle bookended by ones you solve immediately, but as you increase your number of blocks (or wires) the puzzles ramp up similarly in difficulty. The harder puzzles can leave you stumped and require careful precision to solve. Flip will never compete with the likes of AAA titles or even other indie games in terms of features, but for a couple bucks Flip makes for a smart puzzling experience you can jump in and out of at your leisure. I’d suggest turning up some choice tunes and letting your mind wander as you solve some puzzles to unwind – you won’t be disappointed.
Note: an early copy of Flip was provided to Gamer Professionals for review purposes.