App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
User Interface Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
There’s not much to do in Still Here… Flight Adventure. That isn’t always a negative to say about a game, but in this case, it’s definitely a problem. Still Here’s promise of a 2D flying adventure boils down to precious little, which is unfortunate for a game that has some lovely art direction.
The premise of Still Here is a little hard to nail down, or rather, its pieces don’t really add up. You play a small, blue, humanoid creature named Pip who flies a jet pack through stages full of leaves, screws, lightbulbs, and other items that appear huge in comparison to Pip’s stature.
In the first level, it’s clear that there are rockets launching in the background, and a character mentions that humans are leaving Earth, but it’s unclear as to why. Shortly thereafter you get buried under rubble, and 50 years later you emerge to fly around levels to gather objects for robots that got left behind. It’s never explained why you need to be doing any of this, but Still Here structures all of its levels around this idea of flying around to fetch things for robots.
Certainly many games have had absurd or nonsensical plots before, but the problem with Still Here having such an unclear direction is that it’s not backed up by a particularly interesting game. Flying in your jet pack is a matter of tapping on the left and right sides of the screen to boost in that direction, and you just sort of float around levels picking items one at a time, delivering them to a robot, and moving on to do the same thing elsewhere.
In fairness, there are some added layers to Still Here’s gameplay that makes it more interesting than just mindlessly tapping, but only slightly so. There’s a meter on Pip’s jet pack, for instance, that limits your ability to thrust, and some light puzzles or obstacles to avoid, but these do not add a significant challenge to the game, nor does it make flying around feel any more satisfying.
Visual, not verbal
It was my hope that the further I got into Still Here, the more things would make sense and the gameplay would click. This is billed as an “adventure” game after all, so perhaps Still Here just shrouds things in mystery and a gentle difficulty curve at the beginning before revealing the really good stuff.
Unfortunately though, things don’t really ever get better or clearer in Still Here. Although the game presents some really colorful and expressive art direction—both in terms of its character and environmental design—all of it doesn’t really go anywhere. There is some story that gets doled out here and there through characters, but only if you get lucky. To clarify, characters in Still Here just blurt out one of a few lines from a speech bubble whenever you get near them, and only occasionally do they have something to say that extends beyond their immediate desire to have them bring you a screw or something.
The bottom line
I’m not really sure what kind of game Still Here is trying to be, and this lack of clarity makes it hard to enjoy. It’s kind of a platformer, but it doesn’t really have controls or level design to make traversal satisfying, and it’s kind of an adventure game, but there’s not really a cohesive narrative driving you forward. Without a firm statement to be found in the game just about anywhere, Still Here is hard to firmly commit to playing.