Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
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Flip’s Escape is an endless spinoff of 2011’s brilliant puzzle-platformer, The Last Rocket. For reasons that are clear after beating that game, the sentient rocket Flip finds himself trying to outrun a solar shockwave.
Flip is careening left and right as he flies away from the oncoming solar shockwave, and if he goes full speed, he stays safe. Of course, there is plenty of debris in the way, keeping him from being safe. By holding on the screen, Flip can slow down to avoid collisions and to collect the stars orbiting the debris, but if he stays slowed down for too long, then it’s game over. The stars increase Flip’s 2-stage star meter: the first stage causes him to glow and to survive a collision. The second allows him to warp far ahead, collecting the game’s currency, gems.
Flip’s Escape does offer up consumable items and upgrades, selling gems as as IAP, but it’s handled in an interesting way. The upgrades and consumables are the cheapest items in the store, priced to really be a regular part of gameplay, that aren’t just off-limits to those who want to pay. These most expensive items are either valuable permanent upgrades, such as one that gives gems for every light year traveled, or special cosmetic upgrades. It’s really one of the fairest IAP implementations out there. Plus, the game has more of the fantastic pixel art and chiptunes that Shaun Inman’s games are known for.
While I find myself jumping back into Flip’s Escape ever since I picked it up, I have an issue that keeps me from truly enjoying it. The game is so much about just barely avoiding collisions, it never really feels satisfying. When I avoid a hazard in most endless games, it feels satisfying. Here, partially because Flip is moving on his own and I can only slow him down, it just doesn’t feel like I’m succeeding, I feel like I’m not failing, like I’m just delaying the inevitable. The difficulty curve seems set up in a way that is similar to Super Crate Box, where there is not a difficulty curve per se, just the challenge of trying to succeed over a long amount of time, yet I don’t think that works in an endless game like this. The player has so much more control in Super Crate Box than they do in Flip’s Escape, and that’s why I think that game works better with the same concept.
I still have fun with Flip’s Escape, especially as it is great to see more adventures for the charming protagonist from The Last Rocket. I just want to love it more.