14 December 2017
Space Invaders meets pub tricks for a flippin’ good time
If you’ve ever flipped a beer mat into the air from the edge of a table and caught it in mid-air, it’s time to take your skills to the next level.
Flip Ships is the glorious combination of the pub trick with another steadfast favourite of parents trying to prove they’re still hip: retro arcade game Space Invaders.
Unlike in so many competitive dexterity games, the players are working together to hold back unrelenting waves of descending alien vessels, some of which can suddenly come zooming down through the ranks like plummeting pixels, forcing the group to focus fire on the divebombers before they damage the ailing city below.
Firing at the attackers is as simple as flicking a ship disc from the edge of the table (or the included launch pad), ensuring it rotates at least once before landing on one or more of the enemies. The straightforward process is kept interesting by a subtle complexity as the aliens deploy shields and more heavily-armoured craft, forcing a more strategic approach from the human defenders.
The ultimate aim is to take down the mothership, an ominous hard-to-hit box that hovers at the back of the ranks throughout and must be defeated by the end of a single final round – or it’s instant destruction.
Flicking discs across a table (and, in extreme cases, the room) is as enjoyable as ever, with some of the inherent frustration of varying dexterity skills offset by entertaining player abilities unlocked as the city takes damage and more powerful ships are called in, boasting ranged laser cannons and the chance to recover from stray flicks.
At its best, Flip Ships boasts the room-rousing laughter and cheers you’d hope for in such a lighthearted game, but it can suffer from inconsistent pacing when the growing tension of seeing enemies edge closer is broken by an unlucky draw that sees entire waves come crashing down at once. It also veers a little close to being a bit one-note, with few options to mix up player or enemy powers or customise the difficulty beyond how many enemies must be defeated.
Still, it’s hard to gripe too much when the action is as fun as it is. Like Space Invaders, Flip Ships manages to do a lot with a little and stretches its simple premise about as far as it’ll go without breaking it. You might not want to play it every day, but you’ll never turn down a game.
Designer: Kane Klenko
Artist: Kwanchai Moriya
Time: 30-45 mins
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