To put it simply, Flip Wars is Konami’s Bomberman minus the bombs. Certainly, it’s not as iconic as Bomberman with the maze-like design and destructive nature, Flip Wars is a great prospect for competitive play with friends, especially given the Switch’s pick-up-and-play nature.
Getting players up to speed is quick and easy thanks to the swift tutorial, but the general idea is that you move rather slowly around the map, trying to capture territory by jumping and butt stomping on the ground to flip a cross of tiles to your colour. Once you’re running around on tiles that have been flipped, you can move around much faster, flipping not only neutral tiles, but also those of your opponents.
They can obviously do the same to your tiles, so the best thing to do is to set them back by flipping the tiles they’re standing on. This will make them respawn without any of the power-ups they may have obtained. It’s here that we see Bomberman’s influence most clearly, as there are power-ups for extending the number of tiles flipped in all directions, speeding up the player, invincibility, and even changing the tiles flipped to to a diagonal cross.
It’s a simple enough concept, perhaps simpler than Bomberman in many respects, but it’s surprisingly addictive. Matches are relatively short affairs lasting a few minutes each time. The three modes on offer ask you to either flip the most panels by the time time runs out, get the most knock outs, or be the last one to survive eafter a certain number of lives are dpleted. The modes are pretty good, but where the game excels is in some of the map designs.
While there are only a few of them, each one contains gimmicks such as a button that flips all surrounding tiles to your colour when activated, or a laser gun that fires in a straight line, rotating on its axis as the battle progresses. Stages also have colours that indicate other gimmicks, such as blue stages occasionally producing waves or yellow stages randomly striking certain titles with thunder bolts to paralyse unlucky players for a short time.
These gimmicks don’t stop the game from being rather bare-bones, featuring only local and basic online play. A ranked mode is coming soon, as are achievements for players to unlock, though there’s no indication if achievements do anything more than simply unlocking. There is scope for the game to expand with more maps as time goes by and introducing more gimmicks in the process; maybe a fire stage that makes players move uncontrollably for a short time if struck?
Online multiplayer is currently not that great. You can of course play offline against bots, but these multiplayer only games are designed to be played against humans. Getting into a match is relatively painless, but you’ll regularly face one player as the player base is so small that you can’t fill the other two slots. This is a huge shame as four player matches are significantly more competitive and fun. Everything that’s available offline is available for online play, though there’s a quick match option for those just wanting to jump in feet first.
It’s perhaps stepping on Super Bomberman R’s toes at a fraction of the price, but Flip Wars scratches that multiplayer itch and is an absolute blast to play locally. There are currently some kinks to iron out, particularly with online matchmaking to fully use all the player slots, but with updates a possibility it’s certainly one to keep an eye on to see how things develop.