Fling to the Finish PC Preview

In Fling to the Finish more players might not always mean more control.

By Fragnarok, Posted 06 Sep 2021

Fling to the Finish is a team platform racing game hybrid designed by SplitSide Games and published by Daedalic Entertainment Franchise. It is currently in early access but already has many of the core intended features. While the main events are designed for up to 16-players in mind, the game’s campaign can be experienced solo. In an unnamed cartoon world (implied to be of alien origin), various animals including bees, worms, and penguins are competing to make it to the end of a tricky obstacle course. However, no one is allowed to journey solo and all teammates are tethered to each other.

Fling to the Finish|Daedalic Entertainment Franchise|SplitSide Games

Every team is made up of two characters, with up to eight teams per match. There is no immediate distinction between one and two players participating: both characters are always active, split into “Left Character” and “Right Character”. Each character can move independently, jump, stick to walls, or fling their partner. The latter is due to the tether holding both partners at a limited distance. If it winds up being severed due to stage hazards, both characters will lose control until both fall in a pit and respawn at the closest checkpoint. In some maps, the two characters will need to use the tether itself to move while they balance out like a scale or pulley. 

On PC, Left Character is controlled with WASD, spacebar, left-shift, and the “E”; the Right character is controlled with the mouse and all three buttons (left, right, middle). Key bindings can also be changed around, and control support allows the device to split down the middle. The most practical way to play Fling to the Finish is two people sharing a machine/controller, but quick thinking players might attempt to control both characters simultaneously. This is easier said than done, as many moves require quickly jumping with one character, sticking with the other, and flinging, then flinging again with the original in tandem. Even two-player teams will need to quickly communicate to avoid disasters.

Fling to the Finish|Daedalic Entertainment Franchise|SplitSide Games

Stages are designed with lots of obstacles and traps for teams that try to separate (or sometimes stick too close together). This can include walls that need to be jumped over, explosives, blades and lasers that cut the tether, and lots of pits. Often, hitting a hazard isn’t instant death, and players will need to sit there helplessly flailing as either they or their partner recovers. Other times recovering is impossible and precious seconds will be lost waiting to trigger a respawn. Even moving perfectly, in some situations Left Character may be powerless and totally reliant on Right Character to move forward, or vice versa.

This can be chaotic enough in the two-character campaign but gets even crazier through multiplayer. A single PC can handle up to two teams at once, for a total of 4-players. By taking Fling to the Finish online, the number of players can go up to eight teams with any mix of local and online. Even though the in-game menus it is encouraged to invite friends via Steam or find others on Discord. There is online matchmaking (currently separated between China and the rest of the world), but once a host has decided it is entirely up to them how many teams are allowed in a match. Getting a full 16-player game with just matchmaking could take hours, so it is better to expect 4-player matches.

Fling to the Finish|Daedalic Entertainment Franchise|SplitSide Games

Now with multiple teams, it isn’t just about the course but also interactions with other characters. With dozens on the field, enemies can bump into each other, block the way, or even entangle their tethers. With the already existing perilous hazards, Fling to the Finish will turn less from racing and more into a manic brawl. It may be common for matches intended for one or two minutes to bloat to ten or more as teams start to grief and hinder rather than concentrating on crossing the finish line.

Fling to the Finish fills in two opposite niches. The colorful characters, energetic gameplay, and side objectives will likely keep casual players interested in at least trying out a few online matches. On the other end of the spectrum, there is enough team strategy for hardcore players to master the tricky moves to master speed runs and dominate matches. But that leaves a void unoccupied for midcore gamers. There doesn’t yet seem that there is enough incentive to play consecutively without a dedicated team.

Fling to the Finish|Daedalic Entertainment Franchise|SplitSide Games

Some of the user interface and key binds wind up being a bit confusing, and it can become unclear who is meant to be the first and second players. As mentioned, in a match Right Character is by default played with a mouse, but in all menus, their controls arbitrary switch to keyboard commands including right-shift, enter, and arrow keys. Sometimes this isn’t even explained and at times Right Character’s player will be the only one with full control of menu commands. At other points, diagonal pointers will be used to represent the four cardinal directions.

Fling to the Finish has the potential to turn into the next big multiplayer craze. However, it mostly becomes a question of if the player base will grow big enough for constant 16-player matches. And even then, it will take the team some good communication and coordination to make it through. Those looking to just play solo might find more frustration and loneliness than fun and excitement.

Kurtis Seid, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): Switch, PC, Mobile
Publisher(s): Daedalic Entertainment Franchise
Developer(s): SplitSide Games
Genres: Racing
Themes: Obstacle Course, Multiplayer, Platformer, Game Show
Release Date: 2021-08-23

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