I like to buy an indie game here and there. There are plenty of indie games that deserve accolades and a time in the limelight – Whipseey is not one of them. It’s not the worst game I’ve ever played, but it’s in my top 20 worst games. On paper, it looks good. It’s a retro styled platformer, looking directly ripped from the SNES. The character you play as looks like a mascot, specifically Kirby, but with a unique set of moves. It seems like a charming game, with a lovely art style, yet the gameplay tells another story.
Whipseey’s move set involves whipping enemies, floating like a descending helicopter with his whip (Tails anyone?), latching onto hooks with his whip, and bouncing on enemies. The move set, by itself, is quite charming if not *that* original. The game starts well enough, reaching the door at the end of short levels, with cute, whimsical music playing in the background. Levels are familiar looking, reminiscent of our childhood games. It seems like the game will be a cute and easy trip through memory lane – appearances can be deceiving. It does not take long to notice the cracks in the wall, and that easy gameplay becomes brutally difficult.
Whipseey is a challenging game for all the wrong reasons. Prepare yourself for precision jumping, while being repeatedly shot at, onto a tiny platform with an enemy on it that electrocutes you. Even worse are the boss fights which will take unbelievable skill/grinding to complete. Quickly, the game turns from fun to bloody annoying due to the unfair placement of enemies. Indeed, the levels are specifically designed to induce torture. The game is separated by stages with a large variety of levels and if you die, you must start from the very first level. While it ensures some type of checkpoint, it gets old fast – all your progress erased like you didn’t do anything.
The gameplay itself is what breaks the game. Whipseey is too heavy a character, making jumps difficult, almost next to impossible often. Whipseey’s basic whip latching onto hooks is also terribly done – his whip will either stick to the surface or you will die…. repeatedly. The result is a game where you can’t do anything comfortably; there are sections where it’s basically guaranteed you will die. That certainly isn’t fair, none of it, showing a terribly designed game.
I get that retro games were difficult. Some of my favourites on the SNES like Donkey Kong Country, Mario 3, Aladdin, Dino City, and Super Star Wars were nail biting, but they were not unfair; their levels and gameplay were incredibly well refined. Whipseey takes the worst parts about retro gaming and forgets what made it charming in the first place. The game is nearly plagiaristic in its borrowing from past games, yet is a fun destroyer. If your nostalgia causes you to seek this game out, dropping the hard earned cash on an SNES would be preferable to this insult to retro gaming.