Flipside presents you with a board of two-sided tiles. Each tile has a shape on each side (star, heart, diamond, circle, and X). Your goal is to match 3 or more tiles of the same shape.
It all seems pretty straight-forward until you realize you get penalized if you match tiles on the back-side of the tiles. Even more mind-blowing is that in versus mode, your opponent is playing on the back-side of your board, and you are each trying to get matches on your respective sides.
Flipside offers 4 different game modes including Survival, Puzzle, Vs. Com and Peer-to-Peer. Survival offers 20 levels of progressively faster paced gameplay where you try to prevent the screen from overflowing by matching as fast as you can. In this mode, back-side matches result in a shower of penalty tiles that brings the board closer to filling. Survival mode starts quite slow but starts ramping up around level 8. Fortunately, the game allows you to start at any previously unlocked level, so you can get straight away into the action again. Meanwhile, Puzzle mode offers a familiar challenge of trying to clear all the blocks from pre-set boards by strategically flipping the correct pieces to create front-side matches.
The game, however, really shines in Vs. mode. The game offers 5 different AI opponents at 5 different difficulties that can be played in a set of rounds. Each player is given a match meter which grows as you make more matches. The first player to fill their meter, wins the round.
Remember, you are playing on the same board of tiles, just on different sides, so every move affects the other player. If you are fortunate enough to have a friend with an iPhone, you can play against them head to head over Bluetooth.
The main deficiency in the game is the lack of any high score mechanism or even what one might consider a more traditional "endless" mode. The game progress is primarily determined by the progressively harder unlockable levels and there appears to be no high score records, either local or global. As well, the game does not save state when you quit so you'll lose progress if you do.
For a brand new puzzle game, the mechanic works remarkably well. Aside from the silhouettes of the back-side shapes, each tile is also conveniently color coded to also reflect the back-side shape. I found that it took very little time to become comfortable with scanning the titles.
Flipside is a fresh new matching concept that has been incredibly well executed, however, the lack of high score record keeping and non-traditional level progression may be an issue for some.
App Store Link: Flipside, $2.99