Aera is a brand new 2.5D flight simulator. Unlike other similar games in the App store, Aera combines it all into one package. It has the basic flight simulator where you can just fly around aimlessly, then there’s air combat dogfighting, plus racing, and aerobatic mode.
This is as casual as a flight simulator can be, but still provides a realistic experience. There are multiple 3D backgrounds to play, but your plane stays on a 2D path like a 2D side scrolling game hence making it 2.5D. iChromo enters the iPhone flight simulator market, how does it fare?
There are multiple gameplay modes for your flying pleasure. The basic game is quick play which allows you to jump into all four types of gameplay. First there is solo/aerobatic mode where your goal is to guide your plane, and hit a given number of tokens in a certain time. Next is fight mode which as the name indicates pits you in a dog fight where you have to take down multiple planes.
Then there is race mode where you have to fly to the tower at one end, and then back to the other avoiding the moving mines, in a certain time, for how ever many laps is necessary. Finally there is free mode which is just a basic flight simulator with no objectives, just flying around the different environments.
Campaign mode is the main part of the game which gives you solo, fight, and race mode in order. You have to complete all three modes per environment to move on to the next one.
Also included is multiplayer over local WiFi only, but still a great addition. Maybe the best feature is the controls. They’re as simple as can be for a flight simulator, and there’s a deluxe tutorial as well.
The neatest feature is rewind built in. If your plane explodes, the game rewinds a couple seconds, and you play from there instead of having to lift off again, or just placed somewhere not knowing your bearings. Also after every level you can watch a replay of your flight whether it’s in combat or racing, etc., and you can pause, rewind, go in slow motion and change the camera angle.
Aera is a beautiful game. The backgrounds look a little nicer than F.A.S.T. and X-Plane which is really saying something. There are multiple planes all with an old style using the dual wing, propeller up front and they’re really outstanding looking when in the air.
As you’re flying around, twisting and turning the backgrounds flow seamlessly, as does your gliding plane. The fire of the machine gun looks authentic, and the explosions of planes are nicely designed blasts, but the same blast.
The sound effects are really nicely done with super authentic sounds of old time planes flying. Then there’s the rata tat of the machine gun, and the absolutely crushing explosions, which make you jump as you’re trying to do aerobatic maneuvers. The game doesn’t have background music, but it’s all about the sounds of the planes.
As great as the production value is, the gameplay is better. Since the game is easy to pick up and play, you actually know what you’re doing as you rotate the plane or do a barrel role. The game is just fun with the fighting mode the best as you avoid your enemies fire, flip around, and fire on them either with a machine gun or the outstanding heat seeking missiles.
The solo and race mode are a little slower, and tougher to do, but definitely add a lot to the overall game. Flying in 2D space, but having a 3D background really make this game appeal to everyone. When your collecting tokens, or racing from one end to the other, you don’t fly off on the z-axis, and lose your way because your fortunately restricted to movement on the x and y axis.
The wifi multiplayer works well, and provides two new gameplay modes: capture the flag and duel. You can do online dog fight, or try to capture the flag.
The way the campaign mode is set up really puts a damper on the overall game. In campaign mode you have to play aerobatic mode, then fight mode, and finally race mode. If you don’t get through aerobatic mode on one environment, you’re stuck, and can’t move on to another area, or a different mode.
The fighting mode is the best, and the aerobatic and race modes will feel like a hassle as you wait to get to the next fighting mode. You unlock new planes and new areas, but only after beating all three modes for the previous environment.
The game gives out detailed scores for every level based upon number of enemies destroyed, how you destroy them, time taken, etc. The problem is that nothing is done with the scores, there aren’t online or even local high scores, so what’s the point of including scores?
Aera is the best flight simulator game in the App Store, and finally provides this wonderful experience to the everyday user. The game is absolutely beautiful, and a joy to play with the 2.5D perspective. This is one of the best experiences on the iPhone as you loop the plane and do barrel rolls either in combat, or to collect tokens.
This should be your go to game for a flight simulator as it contains the regular flight simulator experience as well as aerobatic and dog fighting modes.Even at $2.99 Aera is a must buy.
Below is our video of the game in action. For you to see how the gameplay actually is in motion. (Sorry about the shakiness, but this is an accelerometer based game.)
To win a copy of Aera, please leave a comment below. iChromo was nice enough to provide an extra promo code to give away. There are no special guidelines this time, just leave a comment, and you will be entered. Can you please let us know if you like video in the review?
The winners will be chosen randomly at the end of the day Today (9/23 at 11:59 PM PDT). Download codes are only redeemable through US iTunes accounts. Please remember to include a valid email address so we can contact the winner.