Flipper Critters

This pinball game is as deceiving as a fluffy kitten with a fistful of semtex shoved up its arse. The first reason is that although it features cute and cuddly characters, there’s a very dubious overtone – according to the manual the big nasty boss man enjoys wearing ladies’ lace knickers while the game’s hero (a tiger called Tiger) once repeatedly jumped on a pregnant elephant’s stomach to try and get the baby out. Riiiight.

Flipper Critters screenshotThere are some sly nods and winks in-game too, including some kids fed up of hearing about that “plumber that jumps around a lot”. Another reason for being misleading is that even though this has been put together by a small team and is destined for the bargain bins from day one, the 3D graphics are rather impressive. The artwork however, we can’t be quite so positive about. Budget games will be budget games we suppose.

In the nuttiest of shells, it’s pinball with a platform game style story attached. The characters magically morph into balls then you whack them around a bit, knocking down bridges to access new areas, setting off fireworks, hitting targets to make new objects appear and so forth. If you come across a new character they’ll re-morph and have a chat, then it’s back to business. The touch screen is used occasionally – early on in the game if the ball gets stuck in a pile of leafs you have to rub them to free it – and the top screen shows different views of the playing field.

It’s not particularly demanding but there is a degree of skill required for aiming the trickier shots, plus there’s the odd splash of interactivity such as cannons that you can aim and fire yourself out of. It’s quite easy to lose a life by reading the messages and hints that appear on the pop-up top screen instead of concentrating on what’s going on down below, but other than that it’s a neat little game if a bit limited. Let’s face it though – a pinball game with animals was never going to be the height of sophistication.

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