Thursday, October 4, 2012

AeroDrift [Seven Only] - $2.99

Side-Scrolling Racers seem to really have taken off over the last year or so. Bike Baron, DynaStunts, Flip Riders, Speed Blazers, Dream Track Nation, Pocket Trucks, Mad Skills and many others have definitely taken advantage of this. Another title that’s really stood out and offered up some fantastic developer support as well as an immense amount of challenge and replay value is jAggy Race. Released September of last year, jAggy Race has gone through a couple of updates, but none have been as huge as the most recent Version 2.0. jAggy Race is now AeroDrift and also contains quite a few new features, levels, characters and even gameplay options. Developed by SevenOnly, AeroDrift incorporates quite a bit of platforming in with it’s great level design, awesome gravity/physics system and hardcore reflex testing challenging gameplay. 

Originally, jAggy Race included 5 tutorial levels, 15 official levels spread across 3 worlds, each including an extra bonus level. With the AeroDrift update, the game now contains an extra bonus level for the tutorial levels, which has been re-named, making it another world instead of tutorial stages and 2 more worlds with an added 12 levels, bringing the total number of stages up to 36 across 6 worlds. Also, instead of just having jAggy as a racer, you’re able to choose between 8 total racers, each having their own unique look and kart, though no special stats are assigned to them. 
The controls are great, and once you get use to them, they fit the game exceptionally well. You’re given buttons for forward and backwards movement, one in each corner of the lower part of the screen. If you press both it acts as a break, which can also be used in the air. Above both of the movement buttons is a jump button. There is locked jumping height, but that does not really have an effect on the gameplay, especially once you learn how to successfully use the break in mid-air. There is a setting in the options menu which lets you set the transparency of the controls as well, but they are not adjustable. Along with the buttons, you’re able to tilt your device to rotate your racer. This is extremely helpful when using the gravity/physics of the game to slingshot your racer around corners, or when trying to land at a specific angle in order to keep up your speed after a jump. The tilt controls are only accessible in the Pro Mode, which you can enable in the Options Menu. If you do not select Pro Mode, your racer will rotate automatically, and there will be no tilt controls active.

Throughout each track, you’ll be able to whip around corners, using the game’s physics engine to help get to finish line quicker. You’ll also come across lasers which require you to make some pretty tight turns and jumps, as well as saws that both stay in place and move and barriers which you’ll need to jump over, or hit and bounce off of in order to reach other sections of the track. The twists and turns will challenge your reflexes, making you utilize all of the control inputs, and some jumps even make you land and keep racing, but in reverse. Timing is everything, and learning when the best times are to break, jump, and accelerate will be needed in order to complete the stages quickly.

Each stage has a possible 3 star ranking which is time based. There are also 2 sheep medals which you’ll be able to try and grab, one for hitting all of the sheep in a stage and completing the race before time runs out, which is a red sheep medal, and another for missing all of the sheep in a stage and completing the race with a 3 star time, which is the green sheep medal. With the placement of the sheep throughout the levels, both sheep medals provide an insane challenge. This does, however, help add immensely to the replay value, which is already insanely high because of the GameCenter leaderboards and achievements.
Right now, there are 23 leaderboards, one for each of the 23 original stages, each for best time. Unfortunately, there are no boards, and no room in GameCenter for all of the newer stages, and unless Seven Only wants to add a total time board for each of the 2 new worlds, I don’t think we’ll see them add to it. However, the leaderboards that are there, like other games that have boards for separate levels, Mikey Shorts immediately pops into mind, adds a crazy amount of replay value, giving gamers the opportunity to perfect their times and move up the leaderboards a tenth of a second at a time. On top of the 23 boards, there’s also a whopping 52 achievements, most of which will take quite a bit of playing and replaying in order to unlock. The developers have added more leaderboards and achievements, but unfortunately they aren't available due to an issue with GameCenter.

Graphically, AeroDrift is fantastic. You’re able to pick between two view types, Easy Camera, which shows a larger portion of the levels, and looks at the track in more of a 2D fashion. When Easy Camera is not enabled, you will still have a view from the side, but also slightly behind your racer, giving the game a 2.5D view. Both have their own advantages and view-distance, so there is no real perk to viewing the game one way over the other. The environments are very well crafted, with great backgrounds and color pallets distinguishing each world from the others.

Seven Only has done a fantastic job creating one of the most complex and challenging side-scrolling platform racers available for the iOS. Priced at $2.99, but currently on sale for $0.99, and being Universal with GameCenter scoreboard tracking supporting data transferring, it’s definitely a title you should pick up if you’re a fan of these types of racers. Even if you’re not really a racing fanatic, AeroDrift includes some very interesting gameplay that could very well make you a fan of the genre. AeroDrift is a game that all iOS gamers should grab, and will always remain on my devices, being one of my personal favorites on the platform.

**Note; thank you to Seven Only for contacting me, and posting here on the review, about some mis-information regarding the sheep medals, GameCenter boards+achievements and saved data. This review has been revised.


Thank you very much Syntheticvoid for this super detailed review!

Would just add few little notes:
To win the green sheep you have to *avoid* all the sheep and reach the end in time.

About the leaderboards and achievements, we added 2 new new leaderboards: 1 for the Turbo Hills bonus and the second is an overall leaderboard, and more than 30 achievements, BUT something went wrong, and now we're looking with Apple how to correct that.

And last is about iCloud, in fact it isn't supported. The times and sheep achievements are synchronized using game center (so the new tracks at the moment can't be synchronized)

Thank you again for this great review and your time!

Wish you all tons of fun with AeroDrift!

Tiziano / SevenOnly

Thank you Tiziano! I've corrected the review. =o)

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