APP OF THE DAY: Air Mail review (iPad and iPhone)

It's game time at App of the Day on Pocket-lint. It's not a freebie, it's not available on Android but it's still worth playing all the same.

Air Mail

Platform
iPad & iOS
Price
$4.99
Where
iTunes

It may sound like the latest iOS feature but Air Mail is, in fact, a game for the operating system rather than some kind of wireless way to type your messages. Think Mario World sub-games, think Star Fox, Pilotwings and Spyro the Dragon and you’ll have a handle on the kind of gameplay on offer here.

The familiar, and quite child-aimed, story is the one of the youngest pilots there’s ever been (you, despite your early middle-age) striving to become a member of the air mail delivery team. In fact, you get over that part fairly quickly in the training levels and then it’s just about becoming the best there’s ever been by completing all the levels in all the worlds - and there’a a hell of a lot of them given the relatively small outlay for the game.

Your craft is a red biplane, as pictured, which you can manoeuvre in a few different ways. The best one will probably depend on which device you’re using. The first method is with two, thumb-controlled on-screen sticks. The left one is for pointing the nose of the plane up and down and banking left and right, with the other stick the throttle. We found it rather tricky that way and so opted for the swinging your iPad around, gyro-method instead which seemed to offer more fine control. Very quickly, though, you’ll unlock an advanced control mode which combines the two and even adds use of a tail rudder but, frankly, that was a little beyond us at the time of writing.

The game is generally about flying into certain marker points where you can collect mail, or whatever payload your mission entails, and then delivering it to a second marker point. You can land on the water, perform barrel rolls, evade bullets in battle scenes but sadly we seemed to be blocked from performing any loop-the-loops. You can, however, crash into the ground all too easily.

What’s great about Air Mail is that the graphics are splendid and the gameplay smooth. We didn’t find it wildly addictive and, despite the great looks and wonderful cinematic views, we suspect the game is actually a lot easier to play on an iPod or iPhone which can be swung about more easily. Nonetheless, it’s well worth a download and is the kind of thing that young or old could not fail to find entertaining.

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