I didn’t expect World Flipper to be so enjoyable. I mean, I figured it would be an entertaining experience. Cygames proved how good it is at creating engaging mobile games that hook players. Titles like Granblue Fantasy, Dragalia Lost, Shadowverse, and Uma Musume all proved it. I suppose the concept of “it is a gacha game, but also pinball” left me a bit skeptical as to how inviting it might be. But here it is two weeks after launch, I’m still obsessively playing.
World Flipper hinges on the idea of “pinball, but your adventurers are the ball.” You have a crew of three party members, each with a supporter. Every stage is set up like a pinball table. You fight minor enemies and bosses by using the flippers to propel the party at the foes. Tapping again can make them “dash” for a targeted attack at a nearby opponent. Environmental objects can act like bumpers. A Fever gauge can set up temporary spots on a stage that, when hit, directly force the group at a major target. Bosses will have “soft spots” that appear before they use a major attack. Hitting that “breaks” their defenses and cancels the attack, letting you capitalize and strike back. Getting a piercing element lets you “pierce” through an opponent instead of bouncing off of them. And since each stage is timed, you’re never spending more than ten minutes there.
While this all sounds like straightforward pinball, the RPG elements go further than just building up a party. Characters level up when in use or when you apply experience to them. Which makes them stronger and deal more damage. They have skill maps, which increase their number of abilities and strength as you apply points and items. Every character has a special ability, which can do things like deal immediate damage to an area, heal the party, or trigger a multiball situation. Once you unlock the ability to add one supporter from your collection of characters to act as a partner to one of your “main” three, that special ability is upgraded to a “combo” with them that has an added effect. If a character in your party “dies” in a stage, you can revive them by repeatedly hitting their “ghost” in the field. It’s all very active and feels like a faster-paced, more bite-sized version of games like Rollers of the Realm and Pinball Quest.
What’s also great about it is that World Flipper borrows quality of life elements from other Cygames titles. In particular, it is very similar to Dragalia Lost in a lot of ways. Not here for the story? When you choose to skip it, it offers a one paragraph TL;DR that catches you up in case you care. You earn extra paid currency, beads, for all sorts of actions. It’s automatically doled out, so you don’t have to collect them after earning them. Get a new character? As you build them up, you have the option of watching episodes rounding them out as people. And, given how easy it is to raise a character’s level cap by combining a duplicate, it seems fairly easy to get by even with three and four-star units. Though, it seems like the gacha rates are rather good and the free launch currency helps a bit, as I ended up with four five-star units within my first week of playing. (I collected a Nephtim, two Phirias, and a Vagner.)
Even the minor launch issues don’t feel like big problems. I’m playing World Flipper in English, as you might imagine. Though sometimes when looking at the titles you can earn or character profiles, you’ll see some untranslated Korean text. The localization also seems to have some issues. For example, Phiria’s episodes have some awkward phrasing. Also, while this isn’t Cygames or Kakao Games’ fault, I’m having the most trouble trying to find people for co-op boss fights. Even with all options ticked, I’ll only tend to find one person to fight alongside.
I suppose I’m just struck by how good World Flipper is. It finds a unique niche. The game stands out with its unique art direction and a genre mash up we don’t see often. Most importantly, it is satisfying to play. But then, given the experience Cygames has in this sphere, I suppose it isn’t too surprising after all.
World Flipper is available on Android and Apple iOS devices.