I have always been a big fan of puzzle games. As a kid, I would always buy little games that involved problem solving and spatial recognition. In airplanes, I often kill time by bringing a book full of Sudoku puzzles. Even in high school, I recall playing the mobile puzzle game Flow instead of paying attention to particularly uninteresting or unnecessary lectures. Filptate reaffirmed my love for not just puzzle games, but mobile games as a whole.
Fliptate is a mobile game developed by Maja Bendevska for Android and iOS devices. The game is simple: you flip tiles that hold four square of varying colors. These colored squares must meet up with similar color squares of other tiles. All one can do is rotate the tiles or flip them, and the puzzles become more difficult as you play.
The overall escalation of difficult in Fliptate is genius. It starts out fairly simple as you start to learn what you need to look out for in each puzzle. You may only rotate the tiles during these levels. After you get a hang of how to move the tiles the way you like as smoothly and efficiently as possible, the grids get larger and larger. Overtime it becomes clear that increasing the size of the grid would only make the puzzles more tedious and not more challenge, so instead the game gives you a twist by allowing you to flip tiles along their vertical or horizontal axis. Just adding that alone leaves a lot for you to try. After getting the hang of flipping tiles, the game once again gives you larger puzzles to handle.
I think the reason I enjoyed this game so much was the balance it gave between problem solving and pattern recognition. Sometimes the only way to solve a puzzle is with meticulous thinking, like in Flow or math puzzles. While those puzzles can be extremely rewarding, they also require a lot of effort. In other cases, the way to solve a puzzle is to just memorize an algorithm or pattern, like in Rubik Cubes. These puzzles can be repetitive and loss their charm quickly. Fliptate does not fall into these pitfalls as each level has the player approaching the start of the level in a meticulous way before allowing the player to make a breakthrough and rush through the rest of the puzzle. Over time, you reach a sort of psychological flow, where your mind full enjoys engaging with the puzzles.
Another thing I enjoyed about the game was the minimalistic aesthetic throughout the menus and level designs, but that is also where the one flaw of the game really shows. The one small nitpick I had with the game were the ads that flash at the bottom of the scene. While you can ignore them, especially when you reach the state of psychological flow, they still look very unappealing. Full screen ads even appear occasionally when you complete a level. All this being said, I understand why the ads are there and they hardly detract anything from the game itself.
As a whole, playing Fliptate was an amazing experience. The best part is that it is also a very short game. There are only 100 levels, and I that the time spent completing the game is just enough so that the game never gets to be repetitive. That being said, I really hope that new levels could come out soon. I give the game a 9 out of 10 for an experience that simply gave me a fun time. Since the game is so fun and so short, I would recommend it to anyone.