It's escaping time! Flip's Escape is an arcade follow-up to The Last Rocket, an iOS puzzle game also by Shaun Inman. The goal is to fly as far as you can, passing light years of space in just a few seconds. Crash and you start back at the beginning, but not without earning some coinage and achievements in the process. One look at the clean pixel visuals and you might think you're in for an easy ride. But flight after flight, failure after failure, you'll realize you've got a lot of skills to sharpen before you get anywhere.
Narrowly escaping the destruction of the ship as it was pulled into a star, the little rocket Flip is now on the run. A searing stellar shockwave has burst from the crash, and the only way to survive is to start flying. Flip slides back and forth on his own, constantly moving away from the danger advancing from. Asteroids fly in from the top of the screen, and the only thing you can do to avoid them is tap the screen to put on the brakes. Stopping naturally puts you in closer proximity to the shockwave, so you want to use it sparingly. But, you know, not so sparingly that you turn yourself into an asteroid sponge.
Tiny stars fly around asteroids as they slide by, and if you're in the right place at the right time you can grab them. Stars function as a sort of health meter and also build up to give you a warp boost, which does pretty much what you would expect. In addition to stars, you'll also find gems from time to time, usually by smashing open asteroids. Gems function as currency in the game's simple shop (er, the Spacemouse Rocket Repair Shop) and let you buy one-use items, hull upgrades, or friends to help you out. You can also get packs of gems from the Spacemouse Mining Concern, a little in-app purchases store available from the main menu.
Analysis: Flip's Escape aims for that quick style of gameplay where you can get a few rounds in while sitting in the waiting room at the dentist's office but always have something greater you're working towards. The goals are rather lofty, and apart from besting your own personal goals and nabbing some achievements, you'll have a lot of playing to do before you can purchase anything substantial in the store. When you do, though, things get a little bit more exciting.
Apart from gathering stars, tapping the breaks, and wishing that stupid shockwave would go advance on someone else, Flip's Escape doesn't throw very much at you, which is arguably a good thing in the grand scheme of things. While traveling at warp you can tap the screen to increase your speed, but there's very little (if any) visual feedback while doing this, so even while you're tapping away like a crazed prospector, you feel a little silly. But who cares? An extra light year is an extra light year!
Also worth mentioning are the game's music and sound effects, both created by Matt Grimm. Flip's Escape goes for that old school 8-bit aesthetic, from the pixel visuals to the gameplay itself, and the chip tune-esque soundtrack is a perfect fit.
Ready to start your run? Flip's Escape is a simple but exciting with plenty of rewards to be had, both in the immediate and in the long term. And if you fall in love with Flip (as well you should), give The Last Rocket a try for a very different sort of mobile gaming experience.
NOTE: This game was played and reviewed on an iPad. Game was available in the North American market at the time of publication, but may not be available in other territories. Please see individual app market pages for purchasing info.