I’ve always been a fan of the FlipChamps concept, ever since developer Brad Erkkila released the first version of the game more than 5 years ago. It’s a competitive 1-on-1 battler where you have a platform in each of the 4 corners of the screen, and tapping on any of them will send your character flying over to that platform. During play, orbs will appear in various patterns and you’ll want to flip between the platforms to collect those orbs before your opponent is able to. Collect enough orbs to fill up your power meter and you can unleash an attack, and if you’re able to hit your opponent with that attack you’ll win the round.
It’s a concept that works really well on the touchscreen due to the entire screen essentially being split into 4 giant buttons, and the back-and-forth collecting to build up your special meter and trying to anticipate what your opponent will do next is very reminiscent of fighting games strategy, without actually being a fighting game. It’s very cool.
Mr. Erkkila has revised and improved on that original formula over the years. The original FlipChamps is no longer available and has been replaced with FlipChamps Retro, which retains the chunky pixels and pure gameplay of that original release from 2015. FlipChamps Reloaded released in 2017 and featured higher fidelity pixel art, a larger roster of unique playable characters, a campaign-like single-player Championship mode, and more. As was originally unveiled back in October, this week saw the release of the third iteration of the FlipChamps formula, called FlipChamps Dual Strike, and it improves on the original two games in a number of ways.
The original FlipChamps featured an endless high-scoring single-player mode, or a same-device two-player mode. FlipChamps Reloaded featured those modes too, along with a new Championship mode that basically acted like an arcade ladder in a fighting game. FlipChamps Dual Strike features all of the same modes as the previous games, but rechristens Championship mode as Quest mode. Functionally it’s not too different, though it does feature a more fleshed-out story component, which is pretty cool.
By far the biggest change this time around gameplay-wise is that each of the game’s 8 playable characters now have two attack types instead of just one. This is a huge deal and really shakes of the typical strategy from the previous games, as before you’d have to pick a character based on their sole attack style and base everything around that. Now you can have an additional attack type at your disposal and it opens up all sorts of possibilities and makes for even more exciting matches.
The other big change in Dual Strike is in the visual department. Characters are more detailed, though still made up of retro-styled pixel art, but this time around the backgrounds are actually detailed and animated instead of the static solid color backgrounds of the first two games. That sounds like a small thing, but it actually makes a huge impact to the game’s presentation. Also each of the game’s characters has their own unique arena, making this even more like a fighting game. FlipChamps Dual Strike is free with ads and a one-time IAP to disable them if you wish, so there’s no reason not to give it a try as this is by far the best FlipChamps game yet.