Flipnic: Ultimate Pinball – Second Opinion

I didn't find Flipnic as tedious as Andrew seemed to. It can be a harsh mistress at times, but I didn't walk away in ambivalence. The worst I can say about Flipnic is that it's an acquired taste.

I don't know much about pinball or pinball videogames. I'm more interested in how Flipnic exploits the basic idea of pinball to go wild with jabs at videogame logic. Flipnic's sense of humor is bizarre. The orgasmic cut-scenes that accompany nearly every game event go beyond your usual Japanese whimsy. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but I'd assume Flipnic was making fun of games that try to artificially enhance boring experiences. The way this game expresses player achievement is so patronizing it's hilarious.

Gameplaywise, I felt Flipnic was very solid. The physics-based nature of pinball can result in some frustration during very precise tasks (like hitting a certain number of targets in under a time limit) but if you pay attention you'll notice that Flipnic never punishes you too harshly. Most tasks only need to be activated, not completed, to unlock the next stage, and the tasks that do need to be completed are always masterable in predictable ways.

Flipnic's problem is that its eccentric design is easy to confuse with sadism if one doesn't discover its nuances quickly. The game never tells you that you only have to activate, not finish, certain tasks to complete a stage. I only discovered this through trial and error. It also doesn't tell you that your overall progress is saved whether you finish a stage or not. If Flipnic had done a better job at letting the player know when it was punishing them and when it wasn't (hint: it usually isn't,) I don't think it would have turned off as many gamers. For those who stick around long enough to absorb its funk, Flipnic is very fresh and rewarding. Rating: 7 out of 10.