Thursday, August 30, 2012

Night Flight [Rebel Twins] - $0.99/$1.99


As I’ve said numerous times, I’m constantly being surprised with games that hit the AppStore, especially from first-time iOS developers. This time, it’s Rebel Twins that’s surprised me, with their first iOS release, Night Flight, a 2.5D Action-Arcade Flight game, telling the story of Teddy, a little stuffed bear trapped in a toy factory with nothing but a flimsy plane to help him escape. 

Night Flight contains 32 levels spread across 4 worlds. Each of these stages has a possible 3 star ranking. You’re scored based on how many of the level’s stars you can collect, how quickly you can reach the exit, and the top speed your little plane reaches. However, collecting all of the stars, being quick and reaching a top speed is not required in order to 3 star a stage, though it does help. For each different aspect, you’re given a certain amount of points. For each 1,000 points, you’ve given a star, so if you score between 1,000 and 2,999, you’ll get 2 stars, and above 3,000 gives you 3 stars. 
The stars that you’ll collect while making your way throughout the levels are drawn to your plane automatically, so you don’t need to run right into them. This magnetism is increased for a short time if you can pick up the magnet power-up. There are also rockets that propel you forward, time slowing items, shock-wave bombs and more, all aiding you in your escape. There are also quite a few hazards; rotating red bars that destroy your plane on impact, saw wielding mechanical enemies, heat seeking missiles and more will all try and stop you from making it to the end of the level. 

In order to open the exit, you’ll need to pick up a remote, found somewhere in each stage, and more often than not, you’ll need to break open a force-field that’s protecting the remote. This, in-turn, activates the heat seeking missiles planted throughout the level, and if you take too much damage, your plane will explode. You’ll also be doing a lot of backtracking in order to make it back to the exit, which is usually found in the middle of the stage, with the remote on the opposite end of the entrance. This is made even more interesting by the addition of multiple layers of each stage. You’ll come across pipes that teleport you to another area, as well as sometimes moving you to a path beside your original path. This is one of the nicest features, as it really helps add to the level design. 

The controls do take a little messing around with before you’ll feel comfortable with them. Touching on the left side rotates your plane counter-clockwise, while touching on the right side rotates it clockwise. These controls fit nicely on both the iPod/iPhone and the iPad, and does add a bit of challenge to the game. I will admit that I would love to have a virtual joystick for control, but once you complete the first couple of levels, the controls feel great, and become a perfect match for the gameplay. 

The graphics are extremely well done, and the environments are very well designed. It feels like it’s in the same category as SilverTree’s Sleepy Jack and Cordy. The music also fits with the dreamy look and feel of the game, creating a great atmosphere for the entire game. There are some spots where the camera zooms out a bit, and this can make your character extremely small when playing the iPod/iPhone build of the game. However, you are able to see a lot more of the stage when this happens, and it always seems to happen at just the right time, so if you can handle controlling a small character, it shouldn’t be a problem at all, especially if you’re playing on the iPad. 

GameCenter is supported, but unfortunately, there’s only one leaderboard, for your total game score. There are no achievements, no boards for quickest time, highest speed, or most stars collected, all of which would add even more to the replay value. If you’re not a big fan of score-chasing, once you’re able to collect 3 stars on each stage (which generally takes me between 2 and 6 playthroughs on each stage), you won’t have much to keep you coming back. However, priced at $0.99 for the SD build, and $1.99 for the HD build, and with the incredible production values, fantastic level design, and wonderful gameplay along with a great challenge, it’s very easy to recommend this first title from Rebel Twins. 


I like your review, but I have to disagree with the camera on the smaller screen. It's very hard to see which way your plane is facing when the screen zooms out, and I find myself constantly squinting trying to make everything out. I'm sure it's great on the iPad, but on my iPhone 4S, it's incredibly frustrating. I also don't get why this isn't universal.

Hmmm, I haven't had any issues with playing on the small screen. It works great on my iPhone 4. I love the graphics, and the gameplay is awesome. It's not hard keeping track of which way your plane is facing considering it's always moving. I do agree that a joystick would make the game better though. Still it's a great game! Awesome review!

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