i seem to be unintentionally working my way through artoon‘s oeuvre, having played yoshi topsy-turvy and yoshi’s island DS, as well as away: shuffle dungeon. flingsmash, for wii and also by artoon, was a game that was packed in for just $10 more with the, at the time, new version of wii remote plus, where instead of an attachment the motion plus was built into the standard-size wii controller. like wii play, the game is sort of a cheap bonus to getting the new remote, but i opted for getting just the game since it looked like it would be fun.
i can see why people were put off by the game, because i too was bored with the first stages, but after i’d played it for a while i was enjoying the game, and by the time i’d beaten the final boss i was surprised to find that the game had stealthily creeped to the top of my list of games i’ve played this year. it astounds me that the game has received such a poor reception, presumably by reviewers who have played through the entire game, which clocks in around just a few hours (the highest score is from nintendo power, and i am once again sorely reminded of how big of a gap they have left).
the game may have suffered from people’s expectations that this would be a fairly mindless party game like wii play, when in actuality to do well the game requires careful and deliberate movements as opposed to wild flailing. flingsmash is an arcade-style game in that you’ll be aiming for high scores, and in it you use the wii motion plus remote as a racket or paddle to bounce your spherical protagonist around the stage. i have a feeling people seemed to be expecting the game to play more like tennis where you’re constantly hitting the ball whenever it gets near, i.e. returning volleys, whereas the game requires a much more billiards-like approach: each time the ball returns you need to take a few seconds for your power to charge and to line up your next perfect shot. the game provides a mechanism to stop the ball in midair via the A button, but i have a feeling most reviewers didn’t bother to use that feature and thus complained about poor controls. people on the gamefaqs messageboard seem to agree with me as well. one person says:
- The game seems to expect the player to tackle the stages in a very precise manner, especially the further you get. If you flail about and swing the remote all over the place then the game will feel completely off and jankster central. The stage design is pretty good too so if you try and play in a calm manner the game eventually clicks and is really addicting. Going for S Ranks really requires quick thinking in the later stages to string all the points together making the player take full advantage of the fruit bonuses and other scoring opportunities.
and another says:
- [T]he reviews that are lowballing it are probably just trying to waggle their way through (which admittedly is the first response when you start to fall behind), which doesn’t work. You have to be patient and line up your power shots if you want to get anywhere.
I don’t think this game is casual at all, if you waggle you’re going to get smeared. This is an extremely technical game that requires very fast thinking and a lot of skill. Even without going for the S-ranks, you still have to get at least 3 medals on every stage to proceed to the next one and even this can be somewhat difficult.
I’m actually surprised they packed in a game that is this difficult with a controller, because most casual gamers are probably going to get owned.
once i got the hang of it i found the controls worked perfectly. all the stages (with the exception of boss battles) are auto scrolling and require you to replay them several times to learn where all the items (and thus points) are (some of which are hidden), but even when you know exactly what to do it takes calm control to execute all your actions with no mistakes. i never felt the controls were to blame for mistakes, and although it’s not too hard to pass each stage with a B rank, getting an A or S ranking is much more challenging and addicting. i enjoyed the island setting and found the two main characters to be a lot of fun, and the power-ups and game mechanics were also enjoyable, as were the rest of the visuals and sound. the game also includes mini games that are unlocked if you get all A or S ranks in a level (made up of 3 stages), most of which didn’t seem to add much to the overall single-player experience, although there do seem to be some additions to the multiplayer. all in all i’m happy to find this was an unexpected gem, but a bit disappointed that so few other people “got it” since that means we’ll probably never see a sequel.
don’t malign these flingsmash links:
– nice video review by thebitblock with a lot of gameplay footage
– apparently getting all S ranks in a level unlocks challenging extra stages
– although the reviewer at nintendolife.com was among the ones who gave the game low scores, it’s interesting to read the comments and see people who questioned the score and enjoyed the game as much as i did