Indie developers have an aura all their own, and that’s what draws gamers to check out The PAX 10 showcase of independent games. If those games weren’t inspiring enough, there’s another side to the PAX 10 where I enjoyed a great new 2D platformer and wished the developers luck with it in the future…only to discover that the game was made by students. While I loved my brief demo of A Flipping Good Time, I was absolutely floored to discover that it was made by students currently enrolled at DigiPen.

That kid can fly

A Flipping Good Time is a 2D platformer where you take your character as quickly as possible through a cavernous environment while collecting items, all while you are constantly triggering changes in gravity. The result a fun and challenging game that encourages you to beat your best times and high scores over and over again.

One of the biggest feats of A Flipping Good Time is that it managed to distract me from realizing my playthrough was being shown live to other PAX-goers on a different screen. I wasn’t the least bit embarrassed as I died time and time and time and time again trying to adapt to my next jump or negotiate the next obstacle in my path. The checkpoints were fairly placed throughout the level and encouraged me to try to navigate as creatively as possible. My goal wasn’t to just beat the level, but to get as many points and collectibles while doing so. If time would have allowed, I would have replayed each level to try to top my score just to prove to myself that I had the level figured out.

The graphics are pleasant and colorful, although it was hard to tell what exactly the triggers or items were that I was picking up. Luckily, the colors of the triggers told me what I needed to know about which direction I would flip. The controls are a great balance between feeling floaty but also tight enough where you can exact some precision to you jumps and distance. So, there is room for error in most jumps, but not enough that it feels cheap. I loved the fact that you seemed to be playing as an adventuring kid (reminiscent of Calvin (of “& Hobbes” fame) for me personally) and was pleasantly surprised by the cape power-up and the appearance of a minecart level. While A Flipping Good Time seems somewhat based in reality at first (aside from the gravity switching) the action and speed soon throws plausibility out the window in favor of making the game fun to play. The longer I went between touching the ground, the better the game felt.

Thankfully, while this game can be difficult, the load times between deaths is almost instant. I was also wary that the gravity mechanic would come across as being ripped out of a few other recent titles focused on the same feature, however, the emphasis on speed gave this A Flipping Good Time a feel all its own. If I had to define it I’d say A Flipping Good Time takes all the best parts of Sonic the Hedgehog platforming and squished it together the feel of Super Meat Boy.

A Good Time is Now

If that doesn’t sound good enough, try it yourself. A Flipping Good Time is available now for the PC. For free. That’s the other beauty of being a DigiPen project so give this game a shot and support a great team of up-and-coming developers.

- Justin Lacey, Horrible Night. September 6 2011