Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Aero Acrobat

So, you're probably wondering where I've been for the past two weeks.

You haven't?


Well, I got sidetracked with some screenwriting projects and Big Mean Flash Gamer had to take a back seat (that's right - reviewing shitty online games is not my highest priority. Sorry to break it to you like this.) However, I'm back, and today I'm playing Aero Acrobat.

I'll be honest - I liked Aero Acrobat. I liked it more when the graphics were better, the levels were more varied, and it was called Stunt Pilot, but what are you gonna do?

Aero Acrobat takes place high above a tropical paradise, and your objective is to show off your flying skills by carrying out a number of tasks such as flying through hoops. It sounds simple enough, and in truth, it is. But I should have realised something bad was just around the corner from the very first level.

You see, the controls are a little strange. Nudging the up or down button won't do much, but if you hold down the directional button too long you run the risk of veering way off course. Actually, scratch that - you will veer way off course.

The result is crashing. A lot. At least you have an infinite number of lives, so if you do crash repeatedly on the same spot, you can try again and again until you make it. That's got to be satisfying, but do you really want to crash on the same loop eight times in a row before finally slipping through?

So there are two problems - the plane is hard to control, and you have no idea what obstacles you have to face, or where they are. This wouldn't be too bad if you didn't have to keep backtracking to line yourself up properly. Could you imagine a real stunt pilot flying through a hoop, then turning around so he can get a good run up to the next one?

Later on you're given the task of shooting down balloons, which is fun (it's a proven fact - any crappy game can be made better by the addition of a gun.) But since the plane is an uncontrollable piece of crap, actually aiming the gun is a pain in the neck.

And since when was a balloon able to take down a plane? Are they made out of fucking adimantium, or something?

It doesn't take long to realise that the same five levels repeat themselves, simply adding a new element with each go round. I get on the case of a lot of games for having repetitive levels, and to be fair I can understand why designers would do it. After all, no one complains about Breakout clones being essentially the same thing for 50 levels. But unless the game is a lot of fun to play, the repeating levels only leave the player feeling bored an awful lot sooner than a game should.

There are a few more interesting challenges, like the targets that have to be destroyed before you can fly through the hoops, but really, it's just more crap designed to make you crash. It should come as no surprise that I got bored and stopped playing not long after this. Aero Acrobat is by no means a bad game (well, it's by no means an awful game) but that doesn't mean it can get away with its glaring flaws.

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