I’ve played countless mods in my long life as a gamer. Few mods, however, make me stare in disbelief and wonder how they can be based on a game with entirely different mechanics. Flipside, by Team 3, is one such example.
It’s a mod for Half-Life 2 that turns the Source engine into the basis for a 2.5D platformer. In it you take control of a mental patient who has escaped an asylum and is looking to catch a boat, which is his ticket to freedom. It seems to suggest that the whole experience is an elaborate delusion, particularly since the chief mechanic is to “flip” the world around 180 degrees between a blissful utopia to a nightmarish landscape.
Besides facing different directions, flipping the world also alters the central character’s abilities. When he’s in his “happy” state he can jump blissfully high and is immune to damage. In his “angry” state he can attack enemies and climb up certain vertical surfaces. Knowing which state to employ is crucial to beating the level and finding the assorted secrets.
Moreover, the entire game has a weird, surreal cardboard cutout graphic style, similar to the likes utilized in other platformers such as Paper Monsters Recut and, of course, the ever-venerable Little Big Planet. Being a Danish production the character makes odd comments in Danish, but understanding his speech isn’t important to playing. It’s a short but undeniably clever and amusing experience with lots of silliness and a surprisingly catchy soundtrack.
If you have Half-Life 2 and a few minutes to waste, give it a go by downloading the installer from the official site. While you wait, have a glance at this gameplay video.