FlipOut! is an addictive, funny, and unique puzzler from Gorilla Systems, first released for Atari’s Jaguar console. It is very difficult to describe the unique game concept of FlipOut! -- it is most similar to those arrange-the-tiles puzzles, except it’s played out on an isometric board, with mischievous aliens to make your job more difficult. The objective on each level is to flip the pieces until you match the top piece with the one below it. The catch is you always have to keep one piece in the air. In the later levels, the little aliens sit on pieces or flip the ones you've already placed, and pretty much try to spoil your efforts to win the game.
The game has a zany plot to go along with zany gameplay. The citizens of the Cheese Planet have a Great Tile Flipping Festival, which is fairly named since all this festival consists of is flipping tiles in the manner described above. These citizens like to relax from their busy lifestyle and visit Earth. And to quote Fenesh XVII, First Scribe to King Fluffy of the Cheese Planet, "While we're on Earth we visit places like Yellowstone National Park, Mount Rushmore, and Easter Island. However, we are creatures of habit, and we just feel the need to flip things." It is from these many historically significant locations that the game draws its various levels. Each level starts off with a map screen representing the places you must travel to, and each area has a puzzle fitting the described broad archetype. The Cheese Planet consists of the basic three by three grid which reappears throughout the game. Each area may contain from as many as 11 to as few as three puzzles, depending on the difficulty level you select at the beginning.
The aforementioned difficulty levels get pretty tough (read: impossible for mortals). On "Hard", the tiles are the usual different colors when flipped, but upon landing they all become the same color. "Insane" keeps all the tiles the same color at all times, the only way to distinguish them is when they flash, indicating that the right piece is in the right area. Finally, "Psychotic" difficulty is similar to Insane, except they will only flash one time when placed in the proper place, meaning the player not only has to guess correctly, but remember when the pieces match. FlipOut! seems simple enough as you move through the first few levels, which teach you the basics of the game. But by the time you get into the higher levels, you're hooked and you can't stop playing.
The controls are easy to learn, the organ music is whimsical, and the graphics are bright and colorful. The unique gameplay and challenging puzzles give FlipOut! a high replay value, and the funny alien antics make this a good game for the kids. Anyone who enjoys unique puzzle games – especially very challenging ones – will definitely enjoy this underdog. Two thumbs up, way up!
Reviewed by: Underdogs