Have you ever wondered what life would be like in the afterlife? Flipping Death tries to give you an idea of what a day in the life of Death might be like in this 2D puzzle platforming adventure game.
Flipping Death from developers Zoink Games puts you in the shoes of Penny Doewood, a down on her luck teen who quickly meets her demise in the opening of the game. She awakens to find herself, dead, and a ghost in the afterlife. Before she even has time to accept her fate she finds herself in a case of mistaken identity and becomes the temp for Death himself. He hands over his scythe and cloak and tasks her with helping the ghosts in the afterlife while he goes on vacation.
While a lot of this probably sounds dark in tone and subject matter. It’s all presented in a very tongue and cheek manner. Evoking classic point and click adventure games from the 90’s done in a cartoonish art style that makes hearing tales of murder and gruesome deaths, actually charming and fun to learn about.
Assisting these ghosts generally involves returning to the living world to discover how these souls met their demise. You do that by possessing the living and taking control of their bodies or listening to their inner thoughts. You’ll use this mechanic a lot throughout the game, which is good as meeting various ghosts and living characters is the main highlight of Flipping Death. Knights stuck in an eternity of resentment towards each other after being eaten by a sea monster or a rock-n-roll biker chick longing to be reunited with her motorcycle are just a couple examples. Some of the best characters aren’t even human. You’ll meet mermaids, wiener dogs, ghost houses, all with crazy quirks and abilities to use to help solve various issues of the characters in the game and progress the larger narrative you start to uncover as you get into the later chapters.
I came away loving the world and characters but felt some of the gameplay aspects were a bit lacking. The platforming is serviceable but don’t expect tight precision, the scythe you’re given can be aimed and thrown with the trigger and tapping the trigger teleports you to where it lands. This helps you recover from(?) botched platforming attempts, but isn’t a end all crutch. As you go chapter to chapter you’ll come across a lot of the same puzzle or challenges, in order to possess certain people you need to collect specific spirits found in the world. These are both collected from certain platforming challenges in every chapter, so as soon as you see them you know exactly what you have to do and it’s just a matter of finding it which doesn’t feel like an actual puzzle to solve. A couple other puzzle types persist in each chapter and it suffers from similar problems to those classic games it takes inspiration from with one problem always having only one solution. Only a firefighter can put out a fire for example, so its kind of a bummer meeting a fun character and not having much more reason to interact with them after you completed the puzzle they are involved with. Luckily by the time I felt like it was getting a bit too repetitive the game wraps up with me finishing the main game in about 6-7 hours. There are some optional collectables so you could probably tack on and extra hour or two if you so desire.
Flipping Death feels like a modern take on a classic adventure games with many memorable characters to meet. It will satisfy fans of those games looking for something new when not many of those games are releasing nowadays, Even with the somewhat awkward platforming there’s a lot of heart and fun to be had in the afterlife.
This game was reviewed and captured on a PlayStation 4 Pro system with a review code provided by the developer Zoink Games.