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Flip Runner!

For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad


Product: Flip Runner! | Developer: Deadly Serious Media | Publisher: Deadly Serious Media | Format: iPhone | Genre: Endless running | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.3
Flip Runner! iPhone, thumbnail 1
The reality TV show Big Brother ran on Channel 4 for a decade. It started straightforwardly enough, with nondescript contestants who just sort of mooched around in a house for a while, but over the years its producers felt compelled to keep the format alive with increasingly eccentric housemates and elaborate twists.

In the end, of course, these twists didn't keep the format alive. Underneath the idiots and psychological torture it was still just some people being in a place for a bit. Ratings dwindled until Channel 4 finally decided that the show had run its course and become utterly worthless, signifying that it was suitable for Channel 5.

The endless-runner genre is on a similar trajectory. Which isn't to say its audience is drying up – only that developers are always trying to justify the existence of their own offerings by adding twists.

In the case of Flip Runner! the twist is that you can flip from the floor to the ceiling rather than just jumping.

Like patting your head and yawning

Yes, this mechanic has been done already in Gravity Guy and others, but the twist on the twist is that the ceiling is beneath your feet. You run automatically, and when you jump you disappear off the top of the screen, reappear on the bottom, and land upside down on the underside of the level – which is simply a straight black line.

The effect isn't purely aesthetic. The saws, mines, and spikes that you jump to avoid are attached to two sides of the same platform, making the job of coordination that little bit harder than if the obstacles were separated by empty space. But after about ten minutes you get the hang of it and coordination ceases to be an issue.

And that's Flip Runner!'s unique selling-point, such as it is. Everything else about the game is extremely familiar – even the graphics, which draw from Limbo and other minimal, stylised games like that.

IAPs explained
There are two IAPs in Flip Runner! - a coin-doubler and a pack of $1,000 in-game dollars - both of which cost 69p / 99c. 

$1,000 in-game dollars will get you a long way towards buying all of the masks, but you collect coins quite rapidly during play so it's not really necessary to pay extra.
As you run along you can collect shields, which let you absorb one hit, and lightning bolts, which let you turn into an invincible fireball for a few seconds every time you accumulate three of them.

And for every 100 metres that you travel you get a dollar to spend at the in-game shop on power-ups, a coin-doubler, or a variety of hats and other trinkets that make no difference to the gameplay whatsoever.

Flat bummer

Flip Runner! isn't a bad endless-runner, but it doesn't do much to compete with its thriving population of rivals on the App Store. 

Some endless-runners, like Temple Run, have beautiful presentation and motion sickness-inducing 3D graphics. Some, like Canabalt, have a frantic pace and a constant sense of danger. Others, like Jetpack Joyride, have a levelling up system that adds an extra dimension to the gameplay, forcing you to weigh monetary gain against physical progress.

Flip Runner! has none of that. The graphics are simplistic, the pace is slow for the first half-minute of every turn, and the things that you can buy with the money that you automatically accumulate aren't really worth having.

If you really must play another endless-runner, or if the endless-runners that you've already tried have been too elaborate and interesting for you, by all means pick this one up. But the list of superior alternatives is endless.
Flip Runner!
Reviewer photo
Rob Hearn | 12 July 2013
Flip Runner! has a slightly novel approach to the gravity-flipping mechanic seen elsewhere, but it's unremarkable in all other respects
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