Made by Mint and Codeheads, Topsy Turvy is a game in the proud, recent tradition of platformers with a twist. Like others in the genre, Topsy Turvy is focused around simple, familiar mechanics: use the [arrow] keys to move left, right, and jump, avoid enemies and spikes, and get to the goal at the end. We all know how to play that game, right? Well, Topsy Turvy says, now gravity is relative. Chew on that.
Whenever your cute, customizable avatar approaches a drop-off, instead of falling into a bottomless pit a la Mario, the entire topography of the level rotates 90 degrees. Suddenly the walls are the floor, the floor is the walls, and the ceiling... well, there isn't one anymore. Spikes that were formerly easy to avoid are suddenly obstacles in your path to the coveted flag, what used to be a safe walk has now turned into an ominous precipice, and so on. Topsy Turvy's 30 levels are all variations on the theme of variable gravity.
It's fun to play, and surprisingly varied as well. I've always liked games like this, where a new element is introduced into the traditional model of platforming. The best games always seem to encourage experimentation, sometimes even making you believe you've found a new way to accomplish an old level. Topsy Turvy is definitely one of these.
Unfortunately, it too has its problems. While its minimalist art style is readable and charming enough, I ran into a few problems with collision detection. During the course of the game your little avatar will fly about the landscape as the gravity shifts radically. Timing is very important in a lot of puzzles, as there are moving obstacles added into the mix in the late game. However, I kept running into problems where I'd do a running jump, but somehow catch the edge of the spikes' collision block. This happened while I was falling past them, while I was flying by them, and in one notable instance, when I ran into them from underneath. Even still, this wouldn't be much of a problem except that the game counts your deaths in big letters on the top screen. This was especially frustrating the few times that my right arrow key seemed to stick (as sometimes happens when you take focus away from Flash games) and I ran into the same spikes again and again, watching the death total count rise dramatically. You get used to it after a while.
Despite its problems, Topsy Turvy had me spellbound. Each level follows the previous one immediately, so it came to pass that I started at level 1 and didn't look up until level 26. If you liked Portal, Braid, or Gish, you'll like Topsy Turvy.