Fighting games can be difficult to adapt to touch-screen play. Developers either have to implement imprecise virtual controls or greatly simplified control schemes in order to make them work. But what if a fighting game maker actually made the controls unwieldy on purpose, kind of like Octodad: Deadliest Catch on PC? Then you’d get the very silly Flop Fu: Physics Fighter from GREE and G-labs.
Flop Fu is an Android-exclusive free-to-play one-on-one fighting game. With lots of characters, barely any in-app purchases, and real-time online multiplayer, it could almost pass as a serious fighting game… If everyone didn’t flop and fly insanely around using amped-up ragdoll physics. Bring your sense of humor along when downloading.
Offline and online fighting
Flop Fu features a total of 16 fighters to choose from, including male and female ninjas, a robot, an old-fashioned boxer, and lots more. 13 of those are characters come with the game for three, while the Kickboxer, Evil Robot, and Punchy (a creature made out of punching bags) cost a dollar each. That’s the extent of Flop Fu’s In-App Purchases: three totally optional fighters.
The game offers two offline play modes: ‘Practice’ and ‘Fight.’ Practice lets you beat up on a training dummy and try to grasp Flop Fu’s controls, but it’s just as fun to learn by fire during real battles. The Fight mode simply pits players against an AI opponent on a random stage. You can’t set the difficulty or any other options. Nor is there a true arcade mode or an overall game structure, unfortunately. It’s just one-off fights with no long term goals other than leaderboard rankings.
Luckily, real online competitors are just the tap of a button away. After selecting Online, the matchmaking process takes place in the background. You can keep on fighting against the CPU while you wait, much like the matchmaking style introduced in Street Fighter IV on consoles. Very cool. Like offline play though, you can’t select any options for online matches. I’d at least like to select the background and number of rounds.
Flop till you drop
Flop Fu’s biggest selling point is also its greatest weakness. See, instead of separate movement and attack controls, the game uses two virtual sticks labeled ‘Flail’ and ‘Flop.’ Different combinations of the two sticks make your character flip, roll, and fly around the screen. It’s never too clear what the difference between flailing and flopping is, but the tutorial does teach a couple of techniques like rotating a stick or pulling down on the stick and then sliding it upward. The result is more flopping.
Watching the two combatants fly and roll all over the screen is pretty funny. But the controls are designed to make it hard to do anything purposeful, which can be aggravating. You can’t just walk around and then start flailing your limbs as an attack, which would have been more intuitive. I know it’s missing the point, but easier movement controls would have been nice. My daughter, enjoys fighting games even if she isn’t very good at them. But she just got frustrated with Flop Fu really quickly. Kids like her should be the target audience of joke games like this, so something is definitely a little off.
Even robots bleed in Flop Fu!
Fights that don’t end in a time-out (an all-too common occurrence) tend to end with a bang. The final blow often knocks off the loser’s head or limbs in a comical spray of blood.
Flail for the future
GREE’s G-Labs initiative allows designers to build experimental games in three months or less. Flop Fu: Physics Fighter is actually quite impressive when you consider the time constraints it was created under. The artwork is great, a fun sense of humor shines through all aspects of gameplay, and the matchmaking is superb.
I do think the controls could be much better without betraying the ragdoll concept though, and it needs more single-player meat on its bones. Still, if you like fighting games and have a sense of humor, you must try Flop Fu at least once. Those ragdolls aren’t going to decapitate themselves!