Flipping Legend, Flipping Difficult

Different games require different skills and abilities, but for the most part quick thinking and reactions are essential. The better a person gets at playing, the less likely they are to even consider that they’re thinking; it will just come automatically, naturally. You get such a feeling whilst playing Flipping Legend, a fast-paced, chess-like action game that will have you controlling the character long before you’ve even had time to consider doing so.

In Flipping Legend you take control of an acrobatic ninja, capable of flipping diagonally and backwards. They do so across a three-columned grid with no boundaries; continually flip diagonally right and your ninja will keep travelling across the right hand side of the screen into the left, and vice versa. There are hazards preventing you from doing so, though, such as spiked pits and ghouls under grave stones. To ensure you avoid these and stay alive you have a secret weapon: a backwards jump, a skill only available when your timed-stamina meter is full enough. Enemies aren’t the only hazards, either, as your health bar constantly depletes; when empty, your ninja dies. To gain more health you need to jump on the same square as enemy ninjas, graphically trampling whoever stands in your path. Once you pass a certain number of rows a gate will appear, sending you into another area with new environments and characters.

In between dodging pits and poltergeists, coins can be collected on random squares. These can be used to purchase new characters – with no changes in the gameplay – or upgrading your skills. To do the latter, however, you also need skill points, which are awarded after levelling up. The further you reach in the game without dying the more experience points you’re awarded, resulting in you eventually levelling up and upgrading your character. Another way of unlocking new characters and skill points is by landing on the same square as a chest; inside could be gold coins, a new character, a new skin for your character, or experience points.

Don’t be fooled by its Minecraft-like visuals – Flipping Legend is hard. What starts out at a slow and steady pace builds up to become extremely difficult, relying more on snap decisions than critical thinking. It would be easy if the game only revolved around avoiding hazards, but the depleting health bar gives you an extra element to consider, and means you’ll often be stuck on a square, trying to work out how to get to the next heart or enemy ninja for life. As hard as it gets the further you progress, though, opening a gate to unlock a new area makes playing worthwhile, and creates a reward on top of just unlocking characters and improving stats. It also increases in tension as you reach a new environment: with no idea of what enemies will be coming up you’re more likely to panic than in a stage you already know.

There’s no other app on the market that utilizes small spaces like it; developer managed to create such an enjoyable game out of just a three-columned grid.

What makes Flipping Legend stand out is its uniqueness. There’s no other app on the market that utilizes small spaces like it, and it’s a credit to the developer that they managed to create such an enjoyable game out of just a three-columned grid. It shows that it’s not the size of the game that matters, but how each square is used.

Available on iOS and Android.

Chris Carr: A gamer ever since he owned Sonic on the Megadrive, Chris thinks that the only thing better than reading and writing about games is playing them