Wednesday, January 5, 2011

FlingSmash (Wii) Review

Here we go. Now we're getting somewhere. It's the first review of 2011! While it's not a huge AAA game or whatever you kooky kids call it, it is a game that was nominated for Most Overlooked in the Best of 2010 awards. It's the Wii MotionPlus-exclusive game, FlingSmash!

Fling. Smash. Yeah, that's all I got.

The Wii MotionPlus accessory was announced with wide acclaim and excitement. This is the future, I would imagine Nintendo fans were shouting from the top of their lungs. Regardless, after Wii Sports Resort, the new peripheral faded away. Some games have used it, but definitely not enough to call the accessory a success (though it has sold well enough). Nonetheless, a new title has emerged, and it's essentially a ten dollar game accompanied by the all-new Wii Remote Plus that has Wii MotionPlus technology already inside the controller. This colorful new romp is known only by the name FlingSmash. Is it a smashing hit, or will you want to fling your remote in anger at the poor controls?

The mystical land of Suthon Island is protected by a giant palm tree known simply as the Great Plam Tree. The spirits surrounding the tree have protected the island for centuries now. One day, an evil being known as Omninus (ominous, har, har) came to the island to take over the island's mythical power for himself. The princess of the island soon fell ill, and it seemed like all hope was lost. However, the wise elder of Suthon Island opens up a treasure chest housing the hero that will save all of the island! Meet Zip and Pip, two rambunctious heroes who will fling and smash their way through the game's twenty-four levels to take down Omninus once and for all!

In FlingSmash, you visit one area of the island. These are called worlds. Each worlds has three stages to play through followed by a boss stage. The goal of each stage is to collect at least three gold medals to unlock the clam shell at the end of the level. The prize for unlocking the clam is a pearl. Earning all three pearls in a given world gives the player access to the boss stage.

When turned into an iron ball, use these magnets
to carry you towards a higher-point route.

In FlingSmash, you usually travel from right to left with the screen slowly scrolling in that direction. If you dilly-dally for too long on the edge of the screen, snake-like creatures will grab you and make you lose a life. Unlike most games where losing a life means starting the level over, Zip or Pip are placed back in the level where they lost their life. Losing all your lives means game over, obviously, so stay toward the center of the screen!

Gameplay consists of smacking Zip or Pip through the game's levels. Each world introduces a new theme or gimmick. One level introduces power-ups such as the ability to split into four Zips or Pips to access multiple paths for double the points. Another makes your controlled hero grow into large proportions, taking up a sizable chunk of the screen. The Fireworks ability makes Zip or Pip explosive, destroying otherwise impenetrable walls and blocks. Every coin, star, or item collected is worth double points, so staying in a special power-up form is worth the effort.

This world introduces Zip-blasting cannons.

Other gimmicks include the sinister Omninus turning Zip and Pip into a heavy metal ball. This ball form can use magnets to pull your characters. Obviously since you're so heavy, you cannot jump as high or be bounced around as swiftly as if you were in regular form. Another gimmick includes turning into a small ball which means you must charge your shots (by holding the A button before swinging the Wii remote) to break otherwise unbreakable blocks.

There are problems with controlling the game. Sometimes FlingSmash registers your smack of Zip or Pip incorrectly. This is especially aggravating if you're trying to score a perfect run, and the game registers your shot going left instead of right. This just happens some of the time, and not very often, but when it does happen, it is maddening. Nonetheless, smacking Zip or Pop around the side-scrolling levels is very satisfying. This is one of those games where the title will persist that you take a break after every couple of levels or so, so be ready for that minor annoyance. Though it is recommended you take a break after awhile, because your arm can become very sore if you're really getting into the game. I know that my arm was throbbing after a two-hour session with FlingSmash! Who needs bench presses when you've got FlingSmash to work your arms?

Collect those gems for even more points!

In each level there's different ways to earn points. Earn enough points, and you'll earn an A or even an S rank. Getting an A rank in every level of a world unlocks a fun mini-game to play whereas acquiring an S rank in every level of a world opens up an extra stage to play through. Getting S ranks will take every fiber of your being to attain. You must collect lots of stars, play in-level mini-games to earn medals, and much more to earn S ranks. There's red blocks in levels that must be hit before the meter runs out. If the meter stays full while you're taking down the red blocks, you'll earn a combo bonus. There's also a green block that must be hit a set number of times to unlock a gold medal. You'll be frantically waving the Wii remote to take down enemies, gather stars, and destroy blocks that impede your progress. This is all the while watching out for hanging out near the edge of the screen.

Sometimes, you'll need a key to unlock
a barricade which blocks the way.

Boss battles tend to have you attacking the weak point for massive damage (when is THAT joke going to go away?). It's usually located at the back of the boss. Meanwhile, the boss will do everything in its power to push you towards the edge of the screen to make you lose a life. They'll build up unbreakable walls of blocks to halt you in your tracks, they'll unleash a gale of wind force to blow you to the edge, or they'll simply use their body to smack you around a bit. Boss battles are enjoyable, and they break up the game well enough so it doesn't get boring.

This boss blows... LITERALLY!

Visually, FlingSmash is a vivid delight of color. The game's levels are bright, the enemies are well-designed, and the backgrounds are full of personality. Still-frame cut-scenes with little animation tell the story of the game. Audio-wise, the music is suitable towards this type of game. The melodies can sometimes be catchy, other times not so much. Mariko Nanba from SEGA is the lead composer. He worked on several classic SEGA soundtracks such as Knuckles Chaotix for the 32X. It's a pleasure to hear his work in his decade, and it sounds so nice. For an essentially ten dollar game, the presentation isn't half-bad.

FlingSmash is many things. It's a fun game, it's a tiring game, it's a sometimes frustrating game, but all-in-all it's a smash hit. It may be over sooner than you'd like, but gaining S ranks on all levels is a challenge all to itself. Going after these elusive ranks will take most players upwards of ten hours. Then there's cooperative play where you and a buddy can cut loose and play the game together, pending you have two remote with MotionPlus attached to them. FlingSmash is twenty-four levels of diversity and fun, and it's a Wii title that will definitely make quick work of your dusty Wii MotionPlus!

[SuperPhillip Says: 7.5/10]

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