At first glance, Flipper Critters initiates its intended response: Awwwww… and we even had to edit out a couple w’s. The characters and presentation exude adorability - headed up by our plucky heroes, Tiger and Monkey. As their quirky adventures unfold you’ll celebrate birthdays, tend to a cows clinical depression, and even take a trip to the moon - all through the magic of, uh, pinball.
But Flipper Critters' thrills are as stunted and disproportionate as the Billy Goat mayor's midgeted character model. We've seen some fairly decent pinball representations in our time, but it'd be just as unfair to compare Flipper Critters that stalwart arcade pastime as it would be to liken it to Monkey Ball just because your ball is played by a chimp. The roulette of play areas are less than a third the size of an actual pinball table and leaves little to work with or do. Almost anything occurring on the top screen is not only irrelevant, but it distracts from the balls eventual descent back into the sliver of play space, often resulting in lost ball doom if you're not careful.
Complaining that Flipper Critters doesn't accurately represent true-to-life pinball physics is like bitching about combat realism in a zombie movie. But using the pinball mechanic as a way of traveling from board to board quickly loses its novelty. Having to painstakingly use a flipper and ball to activate travel back and forth, the same way other games have you do with, say, the push of a button, turns into an needless and infuriating corrosion of time.
And as far as the touch screen goes... we have a confession to make. Despite what you might believe, we here at GamesRadar are certified adults. So using our bulbous, yet dedicatedly callous, fingers instead of a stylus just didn't work for us. Both your hands have to constantly occupy the flippers, and your fingers are charged with accurately executing touch commands, leading to unintended results and a DS that looks like it's been manhandled by a snotty nosed infant.
And that's not mention the obstruction to the screen. Imagine trying to play Pick-up Stix on the glass of half a pinball table while still trying to finagle your flippers. Sure, it can be done, Tommy Walker, but it's best just to cradle the ball before you attempt to get touchy.
Flipper Critters' game of adora-ball is quite simply on a bit of a tilt; its cutesy pinball aspect wouldn't justify its own game, while its adventure play can be flat-out annoying. The paltry offering of connecting minigames are decent, but the game is still buggy. The many times your simian sphere (your ball) will get stuck, through no fault of your own, is enough to make even the biggest PlayStation 3 detractor beg for tilt sensing.