Flip Riders is a 2.5D motorcycle rider where the object is to travel through the courses to the finish line while collecting as many stars as you can. Its not about racing, its about survival, keeping your rider on top of their bike. Its a game that’s been done before, but Flip Riders does it very well. The presentation is what stands out about it. There’s a bright bold art style, great looking characters and a fun charm to play through. Its not realistic, its beautiful, silly and fun. There are green pipes shooting sharks at you. You’ll drive under windmill blades, do loops, go across bridges in a very kid friendly environment that is easy to pick up and play.
The controls are simple, hold right to move forward and space bar to jump. The game has controls for three fire buttons, but after three hours of playing, I couldn’t seem to find a use for them. The jump also works in the air too. So if you need the slightest increase in height while doing a long jump, hit the jump button. If you jump from the ground it leaps your driver up high into the air. While in the air, you have slight tilt control to shift your rider on an axis to land them just perfectly and keep their speed going or prevent them from not taking a tumble off their bike. There are in air tricks, but it feels like the rider automatically does them without you having to do anything. Again, easy to pick up and play. These airtime tricks give you points for a high score. The game says you can get your rider to do a full 360 in mid air or even a wheelie on the ground, but in 3 hours of playing I never managed to do either. I can get a rider to do a 360 thanks to a ramp.
Speaking of 360s, I really feel like the game needs better support for the 360 controller since this is the PC version of what is also a mobile game. I wasn’t able to get it to work, but if it did, I’d still need a mouse for the menu. In fact that’s a problem I had, between every level, I’d need to use the mouse when I feel that keys should suffice.
There are a few modes to chose from, Easy Peasy, Extreme, Enduro-X, Dart Mode and a Ghost Mode that is coming soon. Easy Peasy and Extreme are like the easy and hard for the 2.5D motorcycling. Easy mode has you going through 4 “worlds” with 5 levels each. At the end of each level, you’re given a one through three star rating and asked if you’d like to retry or move onto the next race. The amount of stars you earn at the end is determined by how many stars you collected in the level. Extreme mode does the same thing, but with 6 worlds and 5 levels each. All of these levels take around a minute to complete. When you crash, its back to the last checkpoint, but your time keeps ticking down.
Each level needs a certain amount of stars to unlock, but how many stars? It never says, it only tells you when you can’t go in a level. Its good to have unlockables to keep pushing for something, but not knowing how many stars to unlock the level felt like an issue. I had to go back through and start collecting stars and then try to enter the higher levels again and again only to be locked out. Since the game is fun and each level is quick it never felt like a grind having to return to previous levels.
Its not all about stars though, you get a score and there are trophies in the Extreme cup that give you 1,000 points. Online leader boards and achievements are coming soon. They would have been nice, but personally I never use them myself, but I know other people would make it an obsession to be #1. Some courses have boosts that change the background to fiery red speed lines as you’re thrust forward for a brief time.
The Enduro-X has an isometric perspective that lets you move left and right as you also go forward. It is an endurance run, you keep going forever collecting coins on a track that looks like an Isometric Excitebike come to life. The controls are a little confusing on this one. Right to move forward, but W & S to move left and right on the course. The Dart Mode has a camera chasing the bike over the rider’s shoulder as you collect stars. Then at the end you need to stick the landing on a bull’s eye place on the ground. As you leap into the air, on the final jump, the game will slow down so you can properly reduce the speed of your bike and stick the landing. If you miss the bull’s eye you need to try again, but luckily these are all short.
You have eight riders to play as, each with their own style, color and flair. Each rider has their own stats which consist of speed, flips and experience that you gain when you play as the driver. Maverick is your standard evil kineval looking daredevil decked out in red and white. Mimi is on a blue scooter in pink with flailing blonde hair. Shadow is a black ninja on a motorcycle. Dixie is a purple girl on a Harley that seem to be very back heavy. Whenever I do a jump the back wheel always sinks to the bottom. Her flip stat is low. You even have an undead rider, a guy from Tron, a green rider named Nitro and a red rocket named… Rocket. Maverick, Bones and Nitro all have the same stats, so if there was a story mode, the game would tell a tale of how Maverick grew up to be Nitro before he magically became Bones.
The courses are simple yet beautiful. The backgrounds are painted on, I’m not blind to that, but they’re works of art that are different from course to course even if they still have the same world theme. There are plenty of objects in your way on each of the 50+ courses. Shark tanks, ramps, wheel of deaths to knock you over. Other things like barrels need you to ram through them, because if you land on them you risk knocking yourself over. Small red boxes can be plowed through pretty easy while crates need some momentum to destroy them. Everything scatters.
There are some nice physics at work here. Not real physics, you can still drive up a 90 degree wall as long as there’s a ramp in front of it. Wooden bridges bow as the weight of your cycle pulls it down. There are bombs on the course, helicopters to jump over or go under. Everything time you fall off your bike and respawn, the course is as you left it. The course doesn’t reset and you don’t need to collect the stars you just grabbed before your thrilling jump fail off a cliff through flaming rings.
The game does have its downsides, like hearing a random quip for every failure that you have. “Ooo that’s gonna hurt in the morning” or “Look ma no hands!” Its not a deal breaker, but it got old pretty fast. Maybe if it wasn’t an audio clip. You can turn the sound off, but it denies yourself of the music. While there are only a limited amount of songs, they’re very up beat, happy and very video game in a good way. Definitely enjoyable, just not after 2 hours straight.
In all, there’s a lot of fun here for a few hours. The game has a try again and again with a few laugh out loud moments at my own failures. Several comedy games that I find funny haven’t gotten me to laugh out loud like this. The game is geared more toward kids with its rich art style and the fact that a helicopter blade only means you fall off your bike. At $5, I say Flip Riders hits the nail on the head even if I’d prefer 360 controller support.