Again the topic of review relies almost primarily on the essence of nostalgia. With the age of innovation and endless possibilities, sometimes the simple pleasures of the feeling of old are all that is required to carry a game’s success. In this case, the proper form is that of arcade-style antics, relishing in the motivation for high scores and getting as far as one can without wasting all of their parents’ money in the process. Whip! Whip! is a callback to the time where the arcade was the greatest place a kid could be.
Whip! Whip! is available on Steam for your regional pricing.
As one would assume from an arcade-styled game, any attempt at a genuine story would be something of an afterthought. It includes characters, namely one who’s influenced to set out on a journey and another who gives them a reason to, which the game follows after every boss battle, occurring after every ten stages. In nutshell form, a fox-like(?) creature named Tira, who’s seeking a recipe for an ancient sweet, comes across a talking glove who reveals to her that her search is valid. Said glove gives the fox the ability to shoot a chain-like whip that latches onto enemies and shoots her like a catapult while sporting a high-flying kick. The adventure starts soon thereafter.
Developments within Whip! Whip!‘s story are presented through stillshot cutscenes accompanied by text; its largest developments come in the form of getting closer to obtaining the ultimate recipe. The picturebook-esque style is more reminiscent of SNES-era Disney games, though, for the nature of its parts, it suits the game well. With chibi-styled character designs, a focus on sweets, a simple gameplay palette, and a colorful variety of settings, there’s room for comparisons to Kirby as a franchise, as well. Though that’s also to say that the story isn’t particularly complex—or really that interesting. Most of the time I skimmed the dialogue of the cutscenes, wanting to get back to the croissant of the game. It’s essentially a bare minimum story that sets itself up just for the sake of having a story to follow. Commendable enough, though excusable for the game’s intent in being straightforward.
I wish I could say that the gameplay more than makes up for the fact that the story is barely there, though even that is pretty jarringly simple. One shoots their glove at an enemy and launches themselves at it to defeat them. Try and build a combo by hitting multiple enemies to better the score and better the chance for a larger variety of sweets. Various power-ups including a longer whip attack and a speed-up button also appear at random with each level, though the usefulness of such items comes into question when one can better spam the attack button with the right timing for each stage. I never found myself rushing to collect said upgrades, though it was more as an obligation that I trusted that it’d make me better and less than I actually wanted them.
One aspect to Whip! Whip!‘s gameplay I do like is the potential to collect balloons with letters on them spelling out “E-X-P-A-N-D.” Doing this will increase one’s number of hit points in an individual run by three, no matter the maximum health (which can range from 1-9; the standard is 6). Anywhere from zero to four balloons will appear in each stage, however, lettered balloons can overlap to any degree (I’ve encounter three “A” balloons in one stage). This is a nice incentive to focus on the surroundings of a level rather than just bashing enemies without thinking about it.
What makes the game a tad less simple than I initially let on is the enemy variety, with baddies being able to shoot harmful orbs, stun the player, or take more than one “whip.” Early on, the game is immensely easy with enemies simply running around waiting for the player to attack them, so the level of difficulty building as the enemies become smarter is another nice touch, and especially noteworthy as my Game Overs started stacking up the closer I got to the final boss. Progression, pacing, and enemy variety are all handled well in terms of gameplay in Whip! Whip!, but that’s basically it.
The base gameplay, the act of whipping oneself into enemies, is only fun for so long. While the power-ups and balloons are attempts at mixing it up, it’s not enough to establish the game as particularly complex or replayable, despite its intentions. Achieving massive combos is fun, though points are only so great a motivation, personal pride goes only so long. Every stage, despite whatever tricks it tries, only has one conclusion: whipped cream. Sometimes one has to wait, sometimes one has to whip in a certain direction, but the whipping will inevitably occur in the same final fashion. After a hundred levels, I was whipped out. I could see myself playing it again every once in a great while, but that great while would likely be with a friend or not at all.
Graphics & Audio
Boy, do I love p-i-x-e-l a-r-t. Whip! Whip! is the latest addition to my selection of acquired titles to sport them. Along with that, the presentation of its arcade-inspired roots does splendidly with making one feel as though they’ve been transported back to the ’90s. Better with its presentation than its overall style is what best describes Whip! Whip! on an aesthetic level, which I think is a little lacking overall. It definitely looks dated, which may have been the intention, but it doesn’t necessarily look “nice” as much as it does “colorful.” For what it’s trying to be, I’ll give it enough slack for its final form, as it isn’t anywhere near bad. Just that I think it could be better.
For such a short game, one thing that I did like was its soundtrack. While not sporting a large number of them, the tracks that accompany the stages are of a similar vibe as that of classic Sonic the Hedgehog titles. At least, that’s what I was reminded of. Cheery and upbeat, with some classic lower-quality sound beats organized in a non-lower-quality arrangement. A sweet way to keep the player focused while enjoying their time doing it. Though with the length of the game and how little content there is, it’s more akin to a peppermint than a dessert buffet.