iPhone Life magazine

Review: Flight! by Armor Games

It amazes me how many budding engineers there were when I was growing up.  All those skilled kids that could take a piece of paper, shape it into something resembling a plane, and actually manage to fly it!  Personally, I wasn’t one of those kids. Thanks to Armor Games, however, I can be, at least on my iPod Touch.  There have been other games like this on the App Store, but this is the first one I’ve really latched on to.  I imagine it’s some combination of the quirky story, attainable and cool upgrades and the origami swans that give you bonus multipliers.

Welcome To Africa
 

The story starts out simple enough: little Sandy sends a letter to Santa asking to see mommy for Christmas, and she chooses to do so via a paper airplane.  From there the story gets convoluted, but that’s half the fun.  Your job is to help the plane travel around the world, presumably to eventually reach the North Pole (or so one would hope).  You’ll do this by picking up the plane and flicking it to launch it, and eventually tilting the device back and forth to steer it somewhat once you get that upgrade.  You’ll also work your way up to a booster which can give you some extra oomph in your flight at the cost of fuel.  Who knew that paper airplanes had become so sophisticated?  To me the tilt control feels just a bit wonky, but that might be just because I haven’t quite grasped it yet.  Activating the booster works perfect every time.

Along the way there are plenty of white stars to collect that earn you money.  You can collect origami swans to build up to a 5 times multiplier on the money that you collect, though the multiplier only lasts for a short period of time.  At the end of each day you can visit the shop to buy various upgrades like a better plane or more control over your steering, or you can buy a couple of “one shot” items like the ability to throw your plane again once it has landed.  Most of the upgrades have several levels, and while you can buy in-game money via IAP, they are all perfectly attainable if you’re just persistent about playing.  In addition to white stars there are yellow stars that give you some sort of boost and pinwheels in the ground that will give you a quick jolt to put you back in the air.

Please Grow, Little Tree
 

There are five countries to visit, and while that may not seem like a lot you will spend several days on each of them.  Your mileage will vary depending on your skill, but so far I’m on day 95 and I still have Japan to visit.  There are also global leaderboards if you’re into that sort of thing, but I’m not even going to embarrass myself by listing my current global ranking here.  Finally there are 40 achievements to earn, several of which will take a lot of effort to conquer.  In short, you should get plenty of play time out of this game.

The visuals in Flight are really neat.  When you’re closer to the ground there are lots of nice details in the landscape, and little sparkles and special effects permeate the flight.  The planes look pretty cool to begin with, and you have the option to pick a different base color and apply a style based on one of several country flags.  The sound effects are nothing special, but they serve the purpose.  There appear to be two main themes in the game – a laid back, rock you to sleep kind of melody played during the menus, and a rockin’, almost epic ballad serving as the background noise when flying the plane.  I’m not sure about the soft, lulling music but I love the game play tune.

Air Mail In India
 

I play a game like this and I can understand why some people are so eager to see Flash games ported over to the iOS platform.  The game shines because of it’s simplicity, and at the same time the achievements and upgrades give it enough depth to keep you coming back for more.  It looks great and sounds pretty good, and the story is just quirky enough to be worth having in there even though it doesn’t really impact the game play.  The concept of electronically flying a paper airplane might not seem that engaging, but let me assure you that in actuality that couldn’t be further from the truth.  If you haven’t taken Flight yet, I highly suggest you do so.

Overall Score: 9/10
App Store Link

This game was reviewed on an iPod Touch 4 running iOS 5.1.1.

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Eric Pankoke has been a gamer for more than 20 years. He began with arcade games, moving to consoles and eventually handhelds and Pocket PCs. Now he spends most of his time on one of his iOS devices. Eric has written more than 700 gaming reviews, which have appeared on a number of gaming websites as well as several issues of both Smartphone & Pocket PC and iPhone Life magazines. He regularly contributes to iphonelife.com and TouchMyApps. Ultimately he hopes to eventually develop games himself for whatever the hot mobile device is when he finally gets moving.