World Flipper (ワールドフリッパー) released 4 days ago on November 27th. I confess I wasn't initially warming up to the idea of playing a pinball gacha game (which honestly sounded like a joke), but upon seeing the gorgeous pixel art and animations, I had to give it a shot.
The gameplay is, as expected, pinball: flippers, bumpers, "balls," all wrapped in a tight package. It's a great deal more fun than I expected, and somewhat reminds me of the days I spent playing Space Cadet 3D Pinball on our old Windows XP Machine. The controls are simple, and perfect for playing during the morning commute: tap to hit the flippers, and swipe to activate a skill. The animations and overall retro pixel look are honestly godly too—I actually can't get over how good this game looks.
The game also does a good job of combining the core gameplay with its RPG mechanics. One of those gameplay tie-ins are the addition of a "fever mode," which builds up over time and adds additional bumpers to the field while active; this further aids certain units, who either extend fever time or gain buffs from it. Bosses also have break points while charging up skills, which can be progressively more difficult to reach especially as the number of obstacles on the board pile up. A variety of field effects and unique boss abilities appear as you clear the stages, many of which are intrinsically linked to the core pinball gameplay. All in all, it's a pretty unique experience in the sea of gacha games.
World Flipper comes with a huge amount of character variety, even among the base 3* rarity units. Each character has a leader skill, active skill, and 3 passive abilities, many of which are unique and synergize well within their element. These range from standard RPG-esque attack scaling (strength goes up with combo count) to more uniquely pinball buffs (defy gravity for a period of time). Each unit also comes with a particular "weapon" type and race trait as well, which further influences team building.
The unit gacha is fairly generous at 5% SSR rate, albeit with no pity. An equipment gacha does accompany it at half the price, but at the moment I don't think it's worth touching for new players. There is sparking, but it is limited to paid pulls only—no freebie hoarding, unfortunately. Dupes of a unit give 2 spark currency each, while dupes of equipment give 1. While this sounds worse than the other CyGames properties, it seems to be permanent spark currency, which means you can eventually build up to a free unit of your choice instead of losing it at the end of every banner.
I personally started with Cagliostro [wf name="cagliostro"], Bercetia [wf name="dimension_witch"], and Wagner [wf name="wagner"] after ~3 hours of rerolling. I wasn't really too concerned with the meta at the time, and just tried to roll for aesthetic appeal. Rerolling was a pretty pleasant and mildly addicting affair; it only takes about 2 minutes to delete player data and skip the tutorial, which is great—this process is usually the worst part of starting new gachas.
The UI and UX feel like a particularly great improvement over the other CyGames IP; particularly Dragalia Lost, which suffers from some particularly strange user flows. There is one nitpick here though: nearly all of the buttons lead to a brief loading screen, presumably to talk to the server, which feels like a small but increasingly pronounced pain point as I go about upgrading my units. I don't think it needs to be this way, given that this is not the case in Dragalia, but in all other respects I think it's a straight improvement.
Co-op mode is a ton of fun, and the bosses that have been released so far are pretty unique and interesting. Orochi is one of the coolest release bosses of any gacha game ever as far as I'm concerned, and they each have their own unique soundtracks. Co-op also has an interesting system that somewhat encourages going out of your way to help randoms and lower-leveled friends: random public joiners and mutual follower co-op cost 0 stamina, so you can join in guilt-free. All of the top players are currently abusing the 0 stamina co-op feature to grind out boss shop tokens and player levels, which is...interesting, to say the least.
One unique feature of co-op that I haven't seen mentioned often is the alarm bell that pops up while doing solo quests or idling; this alarm bell lets you quickly join a public room and help clear it for free, as mentioned above. If you're in the middle of a solo quest, you can actually return to it as soon as you finish your co-op runs, which I find to be extremely nice QoL and a cool way to get people to play together whenever possible.
The game mechanics are actually fairly in-depth and much more interesting on release than anyone expected; I would say it's currently far more interesting to theorycraft than the current meta of Dragalia Lost, which has pretty much revolved solely around interesting individual character kits since release. Team building feels much more like Puzzle & Dragons in that you equip a leader (with a corresponding leader skill) and assists who can boost and synergize with the units they're attached to. Team building also has been really interesting due to the number of widely varied kits they've introduced among each rarity, and it definitely doesn't trend toward SSRs like most gacha games (a trend I've noticed coming from CyGames).
Overall, I'm pretty happy with the game's release; time will tell if it keeps this up, though I already find it to be a significantly more intriguing game than Dragalia, the only other gacha game I'm invested in. I definitely recommend giving it a shot if you're interested in the more "indie" pixel art style of games; personally, aesthetics are always the dealbreaker for me, and ワーフリ scores perfect marks in that regard. Otherwise, despite being entirely in Japanese, it has already attained quite a following, and nearly everything is translated—so don't let being illiterate stop you! [wf name="depraved_monk"]
Finally, here are some useful resources for anyone thinking of trying the game out: