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Air Mail™ Review

By Andrew Nesvadba, on May 29, 2012


Air Mail™
Download on the AppStore
Rating

PROS

  • Great sense of freedom; wide-open environments with playful nooks and crannies to test your skills.
  • Smooth, responsive control options; advanced mode adds a new layer of skill for hardcore gamers.
  • Unlock system rewards exploration; IAP 'cheat' mode doesn't ruin this experience.

CONS

  • Story scenes and voice-work clash with the otherwise polished presentation.
  • Repetitive/re-purposed missions; limits the replay potential for story missions.

VERDICT

Air Mail brings a much-needed sense of fun and freedom to the App Store, encouraging players to breathe in its wonderful world through exploration.


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If there's one thing the iOS platform does well it's casual games - this doesn't mean they're necessarily easy, but they strip away complexities until a simple, elegant core remains and pair it with gorgeous and almost timeless visuals. Air Mail by N-Fusion Interactive and Chillingo is just such a game, allowing players to literally dive right in to the role of a pilot and stripping away the usual violent role for one that focuses on the joy and freedom of flying.

Taking its cues from games like Pilotwings, the aim of most of the game's missions is not to bomb cities or shoot down other planes, but to master your piloting skills and gracefully complete your objectives. This is easy enough given the two initial control schemes (tilt and touch), but a third 'advanced' mode adds a challenging dual-slider system better suited to those after a more realistic simulator.

As Scoop it's your job to fly your delivery plane around, picking up goods and dropping them off. Soon you're embroiled in a war where your skills are used to pacify the enemy or aid the populace, either by completing tasks they can't do themselves (fishing and crop dusting) or by disabling war-ships by stealing their ammunition.

There's not a lot of challenge to the game, even on the hardest difficulty, but this plays more in to the game's relaxed atmosphere than anything else. Players can also engage in time-trials, but best of all is a free-exploration mode where players can learn about features of the landscape, collect hidden items and learn about secret pathways that will aid you in upcoming missions.

One thing that should be noted is the 'Unlock IAP' - for a small fee players can unlock anything they'd like, but progress is only saved for the content you've unlocked yourself. This means players can try out skins and planes they may never earn themselves while still being able to earn them properly over time. It's a clever compromise rarely seen on the iOS.

Lastly it goes without saying, Air Mail is simply stunning to look at - each area may be small, but it breathes with a crisp aesthetic that's saturated with sharp colors. While your time in Air Mail may be short, it's a wonderfully liberating experience and one that could desperately benefit from greater variety and content.

Screenshots

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