Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2, iPod touch 4
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Chillingo and N-Fusion’s anticipated flying game Air Mail is finally here. First revealed at GDC 2012, the title showed a lot of promise, and the final version lives up to it. Players control a biplane-flying boy or girl, who takes on a variety of missions to help out the people of Domeeka with everything from food delivery, to helping put out fires in the middle of a war zone. The game is not a violent one, though; while occasionally enemies fire missiles at the player, there’s no deaths or air combat; missions generally involve flying to certain spots and picking up items that occasionally need to be dropped off. For example, one mission requires fires to be put out, so players must land on the water to refill their bucket, then fly to where the fires are to drop off the water. Players are awarded up to 5 stars for completing missions quickly, for accuracy in the missions (such as flying through a ring straight), and for taking little damage.
Air Mail’s greatness comes from the simple fun of flying. The controls are simple to use, with multiple variants available for expert maneuvering. The missions don’t take long to do, can be kind of repetitive, and ultimately aren’t extremely challenging on normal difficulty, but the exploration should be the real draw. Getting to fly around the environments unencumbered, taking in the sights, getting to explore every nook and cranny, that’s the real joy of this game. Having items to discover in the free flight mode makes it something that even goal-oriented gamers can enjoy. There’s also secret pickups in the missions to discover. The time-based challenges also serve as great ways to get replay value. The game looks absolutely fantastic, with optional bloom lighting effects available, but it runs at a consistently high frame rate.
Air Mail definitely lives up to the promise that the game had when I first got to play it. This is a fun flying game that has the feel of a Nintendo 64 or Dreamcast classic with its colorful graphics and feel, and it’s well worth the premium app price to check it out.