Death. Five letters, one word. It sounds small, but it’s actually huge and scary. People always associate the word with sorrows and mourning. Death. It may cause others to be in a full-blank state when it visits their loved ones. Death. You just can’t run away from it, no matter what you do. Death. It’s gloomy, it’s lonely. Right? But add another word before that and you’d get something that’s actually worth experiencing, and even gain a lesson or two. Say hello to Zoink’s Flipping Death. (Am I doing this intro thing right, or do I have to be cheesier? Heh.)
Flipping Death is an ambitious puzzle-adventure epic following the misadventures of an unemployed lady named Penny Doewood. While out goofing around with her boyfriend Eliot, Penny accidentally fell down a mausoleum and blacked out.
When Penny woke up, she was dead. She’s an in-denial ghost roaming around the literal other side of her world. Let’s call this dimension the ‘flip side’, because you know… ‘Flipping’ Death. Penny then met the Grimm Reaper himself, and a couple of misunderstandings later, she became Death’s temp while the reaper goes on a well-deserved vacation.
From then on, Penny is employed as the new reaper, helping ghosts and humans alike solve their everyday problems. One thing leads to another, and even Penny’s untimely demise is a part of the whole grand plan… or is it?
All these are brought to life by top-notch voice acting, which actually made my roommate ask if I was watching a cartoon series of some sort. Flipping Death’s writers also weren’t afraid to break the fourth wall and give as much sarcasm as they could. Heck, even the narrator wasn’t afraid to blame the players for Penny’s inevitable death.
Not just the story stands out on Flipping Death, since the most noticeable element about the game is its art style. Everything you can see is reminiscent of Tim Burton’s gloomy-looking sketches. The game being a sidescroller even adds emphasis to the chosen art direction, making the beautifully drawn set pieces and its quirky characters shine bright in its mysterious, shadowy world.
Flipping Death’s weakest link is its platforming sections. In the flip side, as the temporary reaper, Penny can teleport to where she throws her scythe. She can also possess the bodies of the living. Running around to where the people are can sometimes be annoying since jumping is floaty and sometimes the controls could have latency issues. It’s a good thing Penny can teleport to the people she has already interacted with during the levels.
Possessing people requires Penny to collect different types of little soul critters, all of which can be found on the flip side. Getting some of the critter types involves timed trials and avoid-the-danger-until-timer-runs-out mini-games. These are fun, but these also have their own little faults.
The most basic of the little soul critters are so easy to get, they literally respawn after a couple of seconds, but the ones locked behind the mini-games can sometimes be annoying to collect.
On one of the timed-trials, I was about to collect my last piece to complete the minigame, only for my progress to fail because a dialogue between Penny and an NPC opened up. While talking, the time still ticks but I couldn’t move Penny, forcing me to restart the challenge. It’s not really that big of a deal since the challenges are easy anyway, but it could get a bit annoying.
Though Flipping Death’s puzzles are not that hard to solve, the amount of characters Penny can possess can get confusing to some players. Good thing there’s a hint system available to everyone at the pause menu. The hints are understandable, but they also don’t give away too much.
Aside from the catchy story (well at least to me), Flipping Death also has a sense of humor. The interaction between characters reminds me of Saturday morning cartoons I used to watch as a kid. They’re filled with senseless jokes that actually made me laugh out loud. Again, the voice actors have done amazing jobs to portray the characters they’re voicing.
Flipping Death overall is a creative experience, having me guess about what could possibly happen next, all the while making me think if there really is a big reason as to why Penny died in the first place (obvious spoiler: there is). The visuals and humor stand out, especially since they’re paired with wondrous background music that sets the tone of the scenes very clearly.
Zoink’s latest IP sure knows how to convince players that death isn’t something (or someone) to be afraid of. If you still are, however, then you can always just muster your confidence and run around… Flipping Death. 😉
Disclosure: This review is based on a review code provided by Zoink. Read our review policy to know how we go with our game reviews.