Welcome to Flip Wars, a competitive battle sport that challenges participants to perform Hip Drops in order to dominate the board – those that claim the most coloured panels pulling victory right from under their opponent’s feet… or, hips.
This manic Nintendo Switch exclusive has been powered by Unity, presenting an early example of how easy it is to use the engine to create games on the portable home console. The party game captivates thanks to its simplicity, with an objective that is simple enough to grasp away from the otherwise frantic gameplay. With up to four players allowed to get in on the panel flipping action, players, whether hardcore or casual, only need to know how to move and Hip Drop, before everyone is left to laugh in the ensuing chaos.
That will see players move with the Left Stick, and press the A Button to perform a Hip Drop to leap into the air and then ground pound the arena to see the nearby panels on all sides flip and change to your colour. The only added rule being that players can move faster on panels that are their own colour, and, as expected, their speed will drop when wandering around on panels that have been coloured by their competition.
In looking to encourage more tactical play, you can move the Left Stick as you jump in any direction to Slide in mid-air to adjust where you land to catch out your rivals, or even cancel the Hip Drop if you feel like another player’s threateningly close.
That becomes more of a concern as players can be Knocked Out when the panel beneath them is flipped by a rival player, seeing them comically fly off the screen – before respawning moments later. Those few seconds are invaluable, too, soon seeing a player in the lead see their score slip into the unknown.
There are items that can appear when panels are flipped that soon add to the mayhem: Panel Power Up extending the range of panels flipped; Speed Up increasing the speed of your movement; X item makes your Hip Drop shockwave diagonal; and Invincible, that powers you up so that you can’t get Knocked Out temporarily.
The stage selection is a weak area, limited to three stages that are then remixed with Beam Cannons that players can use to their advantage to flip panels or with sporadic electrical waves that ripple across the stages.
Developer Over Fence Co. Ltd has introduced new content since the game released, with more planned in the coming months. But, at the moment, there are three modes to play: Panel Battle, where the player with the most panels of their colour wins; Knock Out Battle, where the player that Knocks Out their opponents the most times wins; and Life Battles, in which you must Knock Out your opponents until their lives reach zero. There are options that will let you set the matches to last between 30 seconds to five minutes and, for Life Battles, the number of lives you have.
Flip Wars can be played in Local Battle with up to four controllers connecting to one Nintendo Switch console, or, if you want to get some practice in, against the CPU. Whereas Online Battle will let you search for a Random Match or compete against anyone on your Friends List in a Friend Match. With the chance to either create a room where you can choose your own rules or to simply leave the game to sort that out for you, it sadly already seems to have a quiet community online now – only ever finding myself matched against a single opponent.
There is a Local Area Battle mode that is marked in-game as “coming soon,” suggesting that Flip Wars will let players take each other on across multiple Nintendo Switch consoles. But, as to whether that will be enough is anyone’s guess.
My Room is a place where you can check your current battle records, while the developer has also looked to encourage you to spend more time with Flip Wars with in-game achievements. These simply track how many panels that you have flipped, the number of times that you have come first, how often you play on certain stages, and more, but I can’t see them having a long-lasting effect on the party game’s community.
Flip Wars entertains as soon as the panic-induced butt-stomping draws out your unawakened competitive spirit, but soon falls flat as you realise there isn’t much breadth to the experience. Suited to quick burst multiplayer sessions every now and then, it’s harder to recommend to those looking for something that will keep them hooked for longer.