iPhone Life magazine

Review: Flying Princess by Aleph Games

The cliché, of course, is that the knight in white shining armor rides in to save the damsel in distress and everyone lives happily ever after.  Flying Princess severely bucks that trend with a sniveling “hero”, an overly ambitious princess and a cannon!  Personally I think love might have drifted from being blind to teetering on the edge of insanity, but it makes for a great game, so who cares?

Grab All The Coins
 

It seems your true love needs 125 gold coins in order to marry you, and he’s wholly incapable of acquiring them himself.  So, it’s up to you to scour the countryside in search of these coins, braving platforms full of spikes, fireballs, falling boulders and even a trip under the sea all in the name of true romance.  Thankfully the realm is populated with all kinds of strategically placed cannons which help you get from point A to point B rather efficiently.  On the other hand, they can send you careening into a fireball or boulder if you’re not careful.  You must collect all the coins on each level, but after the first couple of levels there is a bonus item you can collect as well.  For the ambitious you also have the ability to earn up to three chalices per level based on your performance.

In addition to the story mode (which has rather amusing and somewhat poorly translated dialog) there is an endless mode where you can collect silver coins and earn achievements to get even more coins.  These coins can be used to buy dresses or a ring that will do things for you like protect you from fire or make you immune to the currents under water.  The dresses don’t cost a lot, but unless you’re good at endless mode, which I’m not, it might still take you a while to earn some new threads.  Of course you’re always welcome to pad your in-game currency thanks to some IAP options.

Slippery Slopes
 

To work the cannon you simply draw a line in the direction you want to fire.  The power of the launch will be determined by the length of the line.  This is one of those games where even the slightest variation in power can make a big difference in what happens, especially when playing the underwater levels and endless mode.  The thing is, every time I think I’ve got it figured out I realize I don’t.  At least the controls are seamless enough that it never stops being fun trying.

The graphics are okay, but they certainly aren’t the selling point of the game.  The visuals have a somewhat cartoonish style, with static backgrounds and little animation in the foreground.  It is fun watching the princess curl up into a ball and fly around, though.  The sound effects similarly fall into that category of “they’ll do”.  I do like the music, though with one theme throughout the whole game it does get repetitive after a while.  At least there’s a more upbeat variant of the theme that kicks in from time to time.

Shatter The Records
 

Flying Princess is one of those charming indie games that looks indie, feels indie and makes indie games worth playing.  Sure I wouldn’t mind seeing a bit of an aesthetic facelift, but there’s more than enough game play to compensate.  Normally I tend to enjoy either the endless or story modes in a game like this, but with Flying Princess I found them equally entertaining once I got past the first chapter.  I just hope that one day we might see more levels, since I’ve managed to beat all the current ones with three chalices each.

Overall Score: 8/10
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.