Version Reviewed: 4.0.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 3GSGraphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Flight Simulators seem to be a perfect fit for iOS. The accelerometer can offer one of the best control methods around for control over a flying machine when done correctly. But how about in a game that's recently become free-to-play? MetalStorm: Wingman attempts to do just this with a recent update that sees it lose its price tag.
Essentially what we have here is a combat flight simulator. Three game modes deliver some very different ways to play. First up is the campaign, with a series of set missions and objectives that come along with a brief narrative. Survival mode pits players against waves of enemies, either in single-player on co-operative online play. Then, there's the online multiplayer versus battles.
An unusual point here, though, is that even while playing single-player an online connection is required. Likely due to the way the game serves up advertisments at random points to allow for the game to remain free. But it's a little frustrating when waiting around to connect if the signal's not optimal.
Once connected, however, MetalStorm: Wingman offers some of the best combat flying I've seen on the platform. The controls feel great – using the accelerometer to steer, on-screen buttons to fire weapons and touch gestures to perform barrel-rolls and other evading manoeuvres – each is highly responsive and a joy to use. It also looks real nice. 3D graphics and explosions are all very pretty, and the best-looking part is the rather beautiful and varied skies that fill the background.
The gameplay itself is great also. The campaign offers up varying objectives from dogfights to engaging ground targets, accompanied by introductory scenes with full dialogue. While the persistent levelling mechanic means that as one progresses through any of the game's modes, XP is earned toward character levels and coins toward unlocking new upgrades and aircraft. These coins can also be bought via in-game purchases, for those that would rather take the easy option. But from what I can see, everything can be unlocked by just playing, even if its a rather slow process.
If this was a paid-for game, I'd recommend that any aspiring virtual pilots went out and bought it. It's almost like a fully featured, mobile version of the HAWX games we see on consoles. The fact that its free, however, means it should certainly be trialled. Even if the always-online requirement can be a bit of a pain when not connected via WiFi.