Quest-based Pinball is getting vibrant on the DS.
Sometimes there is no better way to solve puzzles and fulfill the need for adventure than through...pinball? Flipper Critters places the player in a fantasy world where they must lead an overly cute team of animal friends in a series of small objectives that connect to one overarching quest. However Flipper Critters is not so easily defined as just an adventure game because it is primarily played as a pinball game. And heck, sometimes it even throws in shooter levels! If that combo isn't interesting enough to encourage a continued read, then what is?
Flipper Critters is a pinball game. Players advance the single player game by completing mini objectives in different places in the world in order to advance their character's quest. To complete these objectives the game makes players hit certain elements of the map with the ball. Each part of the land is divided up into different pinball tables; each with different mini parts of your quest to unlock, making it so that there is some skill beyond just whacking the ball needed. There is a multiplayer component but nothing is really known about it at this point except that it is called "duel," and it requires each player to have their own copy of the game.
Players will use the touch screen to influence the course of the pinball game. Touchable elements on the map will include objects like ramps, which players could tap and flip so that they can launch a ball up onto higher parts of the map. Or sometimes players might have to touch things in a certain order in order to clear a certain path for the ball. This element could add subtle strategies to the game that make the pinball much more skill based and fun.
In between pinball areas there are various mini games that the player will also engage in. From what's been made available it appears that players will often engage in a 1942-esque overhead shooter while they travel between different parts of the pinball landscape. While this will undoubtedly break up the action it remains to be seen how well they manage to pull this off in a game where the emphasis is pinball.
The game looks to push the DS graphically. Both the bottom and top screens of the DS will display 3D graphics. They also form one big screen that the player interacts with, in the same vein as Metroid Prime Hunters Pinball. The graphics are overly cute, but this is not always a bad thing. After all Banjo Kazooie games have the same awesomely bad cuteness and they often rock.
While Flipper Critters has all the potential to provide lots of fast enjoyment (it is, after all, a pinball game), it remains to be seen if the adventure aspect of it will be compelling enough to make the player desire to play tons of pinball.