Filling in for Death might seem like a tall order, but when you’ve been given the ability to possess the living, how hard can Death’s job be? Despite Flipping Death’s heavy focus on the dead and the underworld, it is actually a hilarious and charming 2.5D platformer that will have you in fits of laughter.
You play as Penny Doewood, a young woman who has recently departed from the living after a tragic accident in a mausoleum and has found herself condemned to the spirit world. Death mistakenly identifies Penny for a temp worker and then proceeds to dump his workload and scythe on her, and jets off to the moon for a holiday. It turns out covering for Death is a bit more complicated than it would seem, and Penny is soon tasked with helping out the various spirits of the underworld with their trivial problems, as well as trying to get back to the land of the living.
Gameplay is centred around solving puzzles to help those in both the land of the living and the dead. Penny is granted the power of possession, meaning that she can now invade living mortals and control them against their will. This possession mechanic involves the world flipping around, and the land of the living can now be explored.
Each character that can be possessed has a unique ability which can be used to help solve certain puzzles and advance the story. Specific actions need to happen in one world before being able to continue in the other and vice versa. Some of the more notable moments include possessing a violently pooping bird to coax a chef to bring out his meatball gun, all to save a police chief’s dog that has somehow managed to get itself attached to a balloon and is floating aimlessly around in the sky. Or catching a murderer of one of the ghosts in the underworld, and then using his tongue to paint a deceased sea captain’s old boat. Taking control of these unique characters and experimenting with them to solve Flipping Death’s zany puzzles is what makes it such fun to play.
However, some of these puzzles can be a bit frustrating, and at times tedious to work out. An example of this is when you have to drop a girl down a chimney to cover her in soot, then run over to a fireman’s house and scare him to death, so said fireman could put out a fire in the underworld. It takes a while to figure things like this out, and a lot of flipping in between worlds. There is a hint section in the pause menu, however, it sometimes can be a bit vague and will not necessarily always be of any use. Although when a situation like this finally plays out, it is enjoyable, and rewarding to see that hard work pay off.
Flipping Death also forces you into some dull platforming sections. To possess the living, you have to catch floating souls in the underworld which are used as currency to take control of each character. This slows the pace of the game down significantly and becomes quite the chore. To add further misery to the platforming areas, the controls feel very loose and floaty. The double jump – which involves throwing Death’s scythe to where you want to jump to – feels a bit finicky, and more often than not, I’d either jump too far or not far enough.
A lot of time and effort has gone into crafting the world of Flipping Death. The 2.5D world is full of tiny details, vibrant colours and is presented in an almost pop-up book style. The art design is unique and adds a certain charm to the characters – which are all voiced impeccably. I can not praise the voice acting enough in this game. I’m a bit of a stickler when it comes to voice acting in videogames. When your game is heavily focused on narrative and characters that need to be brought to life, there is nothing worse than bad voice acting to ruin the immersion. I couldn’t find one character that wasn’t voiced well in my entire playthrough. Kudos to you, voice actors of Flipping Death, kudos.
The same can’t be said for the looped soundtrack though. It is far too repetitive, and grating on the ears with its jazzy trumpets and vibrant piano repeated, over and over again.
Overall, Flipping Death is a solid and enjoyable platformer. The controls and some sections of the game might leave you a tad frustrated at times, but with Flipping Death’s odd and eccentric characters, wonderful art design, and engaging story, this is a platformer that was a lot of fun to play through and one that you should consider.
Flipping Death (Reviewed on Windows)
This game is good, with a few negatives.
A hilarious 2.5D platformer which will have you wanting to play on due to the fantastic characters, solid storyline and first-rate voice acting. Flipping Death has a good mix of puzzles but is slightly let down by its somewhat forced platforming sections.