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Developer: Quantum Sheep
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPod touch 4G

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Air Supply is an action-based endless runner, similar to Monster Dash. You control a spaceman who’s constantly running out of air, so he must not only navigate through hazardous platforms and try to shoot down enemies that try to attack him (including giant flying saucers), but he must constantly collect oxygen to stay alive. Oh, and did I mention that when you take damage, it depletes your oxygen as well? Good luck staying alive, then. The game’s hook is that as you play, by amassing oxygen, stars, kills, and distance, you can unlock new music, characters, colors, and landscapes. While the changes are largely cosmetic, they’re designed to keep you coming back to the game, along with the ranking system, which starts at Mostly Harmless, and slowly creeps up from there, hoping to addict you the best way it knows how – through humiliation.

The game’s unlocking mechanic is certainly a great excuse to keep playing the game. I found myself sticking with the game for a longer time than I would have without it, as you get curious as to just what you’ll unlock next, or what new music track you’ll get to hear. And the music in the game is superb, from chiptune artist Mister Beep. It’s almost worth playing for the music alone, and that’s how I initially discovered the game, after someone tweeted about the game’s great music, which is well worth the cost of entry. Wear headphones. The visual aesthetic is very simple, but looks great on the Retina Display.

My main problem with Air Supply is with the ability for the game to end after small mistakes. Look at a game like Canabalt – generally, when you fail it’s because you screwed up badly or just mis-timed a jump, and it’s apparent that it’s your fault. Dying instantly because you just happen to not clear a small ledge is not my idea of fun or fair. Air Supply’s unlock progression needs to be sped up, as well – it takes far too long to unlock things, and quicker unlocking of content could help increase user engagement. Also, I’d really love to hear the whole soundtrack sooner than the game gives it to you. Inexcusably, the game lacks any kind of social gaming service – so while there are achievements, there’s no way to compete against other people on Game Center, or to track your achievements anywhere. In this day and age, this seems counter-intuitive.

Air Supply is a solid foundation for an endless runner game, but it feels like it needs a lot of tweaking. However, this game is worth the $0.99 alone for the high-intensity chiptune soundtrack, so fans of retro-styled games may want to check this one out as soon as they can. Those not as obsessed as the aesthetic might want to come back to the game in the future if it gets tweaked at all, as it is lacking in gameplay to the best endless runners on iOS.

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