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HighFlyer DeathDefyer (i4) Review

By Andrew Nesvadba, on October 11, 2011


HighFlyer DeathDefyer (i4)
Download on the AppStore
Rating

PROS

  • Big, detailed open levels; plenty of new routes to explore.
  • Luscious, 3D visuals; like a Saturday Morning cartoon.

CONS

  • Inconsistent controls; heavily punishes the slightest of mistakes.
  • Fixed camera makes it hard to know where you're going.
  • Performance problems; stutters even on an iPhone 4.

VERDICT

HighFlyer DeathDefyer dreams big and provides a toolbox for high-speed free-falling fun, but sadly its inconsistencies keep it from reaching for the stars.


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Barring those who have a dreaded fear of heights I'm sure a lot of people dream of being able to fly. The idea of being able to take off and own the sky can be so overwhelming that people jump off high points just to experience the sensation of freedom it brings, no matter how brief. HighFlyer DeathDefyer by Game Mechanic Studios is all about an explorer living in a world thrown high in to the sky; where free-falling means you can make a living claiming remnants of Earth's past.

After a rather lengthy series of orientation levels designed to give you some sort of familiarity with the gameplay and feel of the controls you're thrown in to a story following Arreon, a treasure-hunting 'Death Defyer'. After uncovering a hidden and potentially dangerous secret he attempts to rescue an imprisoned race of aliens stuck on Earth.

All of this is an aside for the main attraction of jumping off large islands or structures and soaring through the sky collecting treasure and finding new paths to hidden areas. The concept alone promises oodles of replayability as each island you encounter features multiple jump-points leading to new locations, though this isn't always easy as you avoid traps, dragons and natural rock formations blocking your path.

This would be a lot easier if the controls didn't feel so unforgiving, with a single virtual stick determining forward, backward, side-to-side and rotational directions while combinations with the 'booster' and 'dodge' buttons add even more responses. Sadly the controls assume constant contact, with releases of the virtual stick or changes in direction immediately affecting your acceleration and at the speeds you're traveling at a split second can be the difference between landing safely and becoming a protein-pancake.

Given the speeds and distances involved in free-falling, the game goes out of its way to provide handy indicators and references to keep everything in perspective. Unfortunately much like sky-diving, things get a whole lot trickier closer to your objective as you lose these frames of reference and a change in camera (through zooming in/out or around the player) would have helped immensely.

If you're willing to master the surprisingly realistic feel of HighFlyer DeathDefyer, you'll be rewarded with thrilling and challenging free-flying experience that rewards the spirit of adventure with treasure and a few alien powers as well. Sadly there's too much room for frustration in mastering the game's quirks and most are likely to put this game down before reaching the meat of the story.

Screenshots

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