Developer: Lemon Games
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Combining Flight Control style game mechanics and tower defense mentalities should ensure that Air Patriots is an exceptional game. It very nearly is but bear in mind that the free version is really only a demo, or shell of the game. An in-app purchase of $2.99 unlocks the game’s true potential.

Tower defense fans will immediately be familiar with the main objective behind Air Patriots: protect the base from waves of enemy attack by taking them out before they get too close. Rather than placing towers and leaving the game to effectively play itself, however, players can get a little more involved than that. Line drawing mechanics come into play with players directing the planes with a finger in order to destroy the enemy.

This offers advantages and disadvantages. It keeps the player constantly involved in the action but it can also get a little awkward. The planes continue to fly in the direction they’re pointed at until they hit either the edge of the screen or another plane. They then bounce back in a different direction, constantly moving. Circles can be drawn in order to create patrolling routes for the planes but even then they can be knocked off course by a plane passing through. This means there’s a steady amount of micromanagement needed to keep the planes in the right place.

That does make Air Patriots quite an exciting and involving game. All the more so given that different planes have different strengths and weaknesses depending on what the opposition involves.

Once a wave of enemy vehicles have been taken out, players gain a gear which can be used to unlock new maps, planes or weaponry. This is also where grinding for gears or spending real money comes into play. There are a lot of extras that can be purchased, not least many of the maps within Air Patriots. Not all can be purchased with gears so to see what the game really offers, players should expect to spend some real money. $2.99 unlocks all the maps as well as some additional gears.

Air Patriots seems worth that $2.99 price as, while the controls are a little demanding, it’s a fun twist on the genre. I’d prefer to pay up front for such content, though. Dishing out for a trickle of in-app purchases just feels a little disingenuous.

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