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Flipper 2: A Different Type of Sequel

13th January 2012; By Patrick

In the early months of 2010, the DSiWare service was graced with the unique title
Flipper. Costing 500 Points, Goodbye Galaxy Games' debut on the service put you in control of a young boy trying to rescue his Goldfish. The game let you not only navigate the world, but change the world in various unique ways simply by touching it. What started as merely an engine test became fairly popular, gaining a following of players on DSiWare.

Coming soon in North America at the time of writing (out now in Europe), the sequel will become available through the DSiWare service as well. Flipper 2: Flush the Goldfish may have "Flipper 2" right in the name, but this is a different type of sequel. Scrapping the gameplay mechanics of the original entirely, this game revolves around you playing as the Goldfish needing to rescue the boy.

The game is no longer a 3D world-changing platformer, but a 2D action game that is played with only one button. As you progress through rooms, the A button might shoot in one room, or jump in another room. This means that while the game also contains puzzles, they are of a vastly different nature than the puzzles implemented in the original. The sequel also contains much more content, even featuring an included level editor to mean that there is theoretically infinite gameplay if you want it. And it's even the same price.

When was the last time that you bought a sequel, and the philosophy seemed to be "The old one sold well? Quick! It's our job to churn out a similar game to milk it for all it's worth!" (Incidentally, that's how I believe Activision treats all its high-profile games and franchises.)

There are even some phenomenal sequels that run on exactly the same engine and have been churned out with relatively low development time and costs. Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Pikmin 2 are excellent examples of this. Yes, they both introduced new content; Galaxy adding Yoshi new power-ups with Pikmin introducing Louie and removing the time limit system. The difference here is clear, however; Flipper and Flipper 2 are most similar in their name and characters, not their gameplay.

Now, I'm not trying to put Super Mario Galaxy 2 or Pikmin 2 to shame here; they're both fantastic titles and two of my favourite games. What I am saying though, is that I would like to see more sequels take risks and reinvent the wheel. I realize that's not always smart from a business perspective, however from a player's perspective, even once or twice every now and then can definitely be refreshing. Flipper 2 definitely seems to pull this off successfully, and that is definitely one of the reasons I cannot wait to play it. You can look for a review closer to the North American launch.

Feature by Patrick