I’m not the kind of person who will base a game’s value on how long it takes to beat it. That’s a silly way to measure it. I used to think that way, though, back when everyone else did, and sometimes that mindset does manage to creep back in.
Enter Whipseey and the Lost Atlas. This is a cute little game that I’ve had on my eShop wishlist since whenever it was released. At a measley $8, it’s actually a wonder why I didn’t just purchase it right away. After all, it’s a platformer that looks strikingly like a Kirby game, so you would think that I’d be the target demo here.
But no, I waited until it was half-price, and despite my greatest efforts, I can’t help but feel like I overpaid. Whipseey is exactly what it appears to be: a straightforward little platformer where your key verbs are “jump” and “whip.” This is fine. The controls are fairly solid, and I really do appreciate the simple, colourful graphics. That’s where my praise ends.
Whipseey doesn’t really seek to excel or innovate in any way. And I can relate to that; you could say the same thing about me. But the problem is that it doesn’t make for the most fun game. Once you’ve jumped over a hole, whipped an enemy, and then whip-grappled over a hole, you’ve seen pretty much everything the game has to offer. There are no power-ups, no gimmick stages, no new abilities. Whipseey almost never even uses its mechanics to do interesting things. There are exactly two screens where you need to bounce off a monster to clear a gap, and one screen where you need to use more than a single grapple point. I guess the TLDR of it is that Whipseey has a lot of untapped potential, and that makes it more disappointing than outright bad. Which adjective is worse is subjective.
The other thing about Whipseey is that it is short. Like, 30 minutes long at the absolute maximum. It’s five stages long, and each stage is comprised of about a dozen rooms and a boss. When I got to the end, I quite literally did a double-take and exclaimed “What? That’s it!?” I can’t in good conscience fault Whipseey for being so short, as Kirby’s Dream Land is roughly the same length, and I quite enjoy that game. The problem lies in the fact that it’s somehow even shallower than Kirby’s Dream Land, a game in which you can literally just fly over pretty much everything.
Did I at least enjoy my brief time playing Whipseey? It’s actually hard to say. I’ve been mulling it over for a while, and on one hand, there’s barely anything there. The level design is mostly the same throughout each world, really only beginning to get creative in world 5. On the other hand, it’s colourful and responsive and seems to be very competently built. So I guess that my opinion is thus: it is an objectively fine game, but subjectively it feels very much lacking.
While I’m obviously dancing around having to say “I didn’t like it” as much as I can, it’s not hard to say that I absolutely wouldn’t recommend it. Unless you’re buying it as Baby’s First Video Game. And I’m not being dismissive or elitist when I say that. I genuinely think this game would be best suited for a kid who’s new to video games. Anyone else will likely just be bored.
And it just really bothers me that Whipseey is spelled with two E’s. Weird.