Super Flippin’ Phones is an interesting attempt at making an infinitely running arcade game that puts you behind the actively slapping arms of a homeless man living in a mall who has been given the mission of freeing the surrounding populous from the brainwashing glow of their phones by forcefully knocking them out of their hands. Your mission is unacceptable and infuriating to the surrounding mall cops, as your phone flipping abilities are so powerful that you leave a wake of destroyed mall property behind you.
Using only WASD, you must guide your hobo on a rampage as he wildly flails his arms, knocking phones out of the hands of so many unsuspecting smartphone zombies in his path. Doing so “hips them” to his freewheeling lifestyle, inspiring a legion to follow his every step and inciting the wrath of countless mall officers, police dogs, and undercover cops. In addition to flipping phones, our hobo can slap cops and dogs out of his way, given he has enough stamina. Stamina depletes as players leap over or slap cops and replenishes slowly while running and quickly while standing still. Get caught standing still or with low stamina and it’s game over.
Followers must be turned in at the hobo’s cardboard box in exchange for points. The larger your following, the greater the reward per evacuee. Get caught before turning in any followers, however, and you’ll come out empty-handed. Whether scoring in the hundreds-of-thousands or zero, this arcade like implementation of risk-reward elements essentially won me over, tempting me to push my luck over and over again. Controls are responsive enough for quick turns and last second getaways and the runner’s pace of gameplay perfectly maintained the excitement.
The gameplay is mostly intuitive however, I feel that the game could have used a dedicated tutorial instead of its halting tutorial prompts. The tutorial prompts continuously interrupted my first experience with the game, making it less enjoyable. It also seemed to defeat the purpose of an endless runner by continuously stopping you so that it could feed you tiny bits of information. Overall, it felt that it was trying to take control away from me. However, saying that, I would say that this is a minor point which doesn’t detract from the gameplay once the first run is complete.
High enough scores unlock additional game modes which feature a greater variety of obstacles. One of these is the League of Extraordinary Police difficulty. This adds an officer on stilts and one with a riot shield to the mix, both of which have their own simple but complementary solutions: riot shields knock you backward and need to be vaulted over while stilt cops require you to jump to slap them, eating up more stamina than the usual mall cop. As well as the variety of obstacles, the game also adds randomly placed giant gift-box drops. These contain a variety of quirky costumes like underpants only, caped wrestler, and moustache man. I believe that all these features, both cosmetic and game changing, create a game that kept me interested in progressing. I always felt as if I had a new challenge to overcome or a new item to unlock which kept me interested throughout my long play through of the game.
I found the overall package to be entertaining but too limited in scope and production to keep longer play sessions feeling fresh. For instance, you spend the entire game in multi-level malls, rioting to the sound of only a few peppy but short tracks. The tracks themselves aren’t so great to begin with and wore out for me after only a few runs. While the enemy variety and core gameplay loop are exciting, the game world begins to feel monotone early on, especially since it can take some time to unlock new levels. In the earliest level for example, the restaurant part of the mall has its own theme and colour scheme but the rest of the mall lacks anything remarkable. A few more explicitly detailed shops within the mall, more locations varying in layout and size, and just
Overall, Super Flippin’ Phones is a decent game with a few interesting mechanics that differentiate it from multitude of similar looking games out there. Gameplay is addictively challenging and mechanically concise and there’s little if any pretension behind the game’s premise – honestly, knowing nothing about the title before playing, I went in expecting to be met with the same old endless runner experience. Although currently lacking in content and variety but considering its very reasonable launch price, Super Flippin’ Phones is well worth its value because it’s straight up fun.
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