Paddle Flap began life as a game jam before being developed into a full release but its premise and goal is a simple one. Similar to a pinball machine crossed with a circus tent game, the idea is to use a flipper to hit targets and score big points. Accuracy and speed is key.
At the bottom of the screen is a paddle that will flick up to the left or right depending on where you click. Press and hold the mouse click you’ll get a softer flick up because the paddle stays raised. The key is that as balls drop from the top of the screen like a pachinko machine, you need to choose when to flap your paddle and in what direction and strength. This will send the ball flying and hopefully hitting the targets. Chaining up moves quickly allows for a score multiplier and if you miss all the targets altogether, there is no real penalty aside from losing your score chain if you have one. The stakes are initially quite low but then suddenly, trap targets are added.
These spikey traps will take a life away and you only have three. You can replenish lives through scoring points again but that starts to become quite tricky to do. This is because once you cross the 1,000 point threshold you’ll be juggling multiple balls to flap around the screen and you’ll also start to have multiple scoring and trap targets. Sadly the game is so quick to bring in new targets when you clear one, if you have more than one ball in play you’ve about 1 in 6 chance that the trap or target will spawn exactly where your ball is. If its a trap (yes, you can do the meme) then its an instant life loss and that feels somewhat unfair. It isn’t as if you can stop the move happening and suddenly the game moves from a curious score attack game to a randomised frustrator. My enjoy dipped considerably and no matter what I tried to do, I’d invariably reach game over before hitting the 2,000 point mark.
If that doesn’t put you off, you can translate your scores to currency in game to buy different colour themes for the game and background music. There are three powerups you can collect and trigger too but the useful one is a powerup that clears all existing traps for a move. There are some local leaderboards (no online ones) and some stats collection for your total playtime but aside from that, you’ll need to be happy beating your own score or passing the mouse for a local competition.
Ultimately my enjoyment soured because I felt like Paddle Flap took the control of my own destiny away from me. It is a simple enough premise that could work quite well – especially with a Lumines or Tetris Effect style unlockable colour palettes or themes as you increased your score. For me, there wasn’t enough to keep me playing for very long so it’ll be likely filed away for occasional five minute flurries of frustration.
A simple score attack game that seems unfair once its full form is unleashed. For extreme score attack genre fans only
Simple twist on pinball that works nicely.
Unlockable themes offers some carrot to keep playing.
Extreme difficulty spike early on will frustrate most gamers.
The actual physics of where your ball will go seems a bit random at times.
No online leaderboard or way to keep scores for local multiplayer split screen or pass the controller competition.
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