When it comes to sequels, it is all about how the developer stepped their game up from the initial release. Having a groundwork is great, but if your follow-up does not do anything to evolve the game, then it becomes clear that the developer is just trying to cash in. So that begs the question: does Air Supremacy evolve from the previous iteration, or is it just more of the same?
Thankfully, this game has a long tutorial, because it is very complicated. It will guide you through everything from how to control your airplane, through how to win in a dogfight. It does a good job of layering on each piece step-by-step, so you can absorb the particular mechanic well enough before moving on to the next one.
The game has a whole bunch of modes available. You can play through the story mode, which features a bunch of challenges linked together by graphic novel story bits. The story is kind of throwaway and hard to follow. Still, the gameplay bits between the story segments are fun enough that it does not matter.
There is also the dogfight missions that will keep you busy once you finish the 4+ hour story mode. There are over 100 missions in the mode, and while each one is short, combined they will provide you with a ton of gameplay. They also included a survival mode, which brings wave based combat where the goal is to live for as long as possible.
The game also includes a robust multiplayer mode. There are plenty of modes in the multiplayer to keep things fun and fresh. You can play standard death match, free for all, capture the flag and more. Multiplayer matches feature 8 players, so while it does not have nearly as many enemies as the single player, the challenge of dealing with another human more than makes up for it.
The flying gameplay is actually very deep and challenging, so expect to deal with some learning curve. Once you get the hang of it, it is actually very intuitive, but it will certainly take a lot of practice.
All in all, there is some really solid gameplay in Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy. It has a ton of modes and some great multiplayer. You are certainly getting your money’s worth with this game.
The tutorial in the game will do a much better job of going in-depth with how the controls work than I can here, but I will give you a general idea. There are two control options. The first one is much more casual and easier to use. However, it limits some of the advanced maneuvers that become crucial in later levels. The advanced control options are obviously harder to learn, but they give you much more control over your airplane and they allow you to pull off many more evasive maneuvers.
With the advance control method, you are bringing tilt into the mix. You will be twisting and tilting your device to roll, climb and dive. With the basic controls, rolling and yawing are combined, meaning there is much less for you to worry about while flying.
As I said before, the controls are complicated, and they will take some getting used to. If you are going to play online, you will not be able to get by with the easier controls. Even in the single player you may struggle with the basic control method.
Overall, the controls work well most of the time. I had a few occasions where I would have to calibrate my device because I changed the angle or moved around. For the amount of fine control over your airplane that this game offers, I cannot see a way for them to use another control method.
The game looks amazing . . . most of the time. When you are flying through the air, it looks awesome. The ground looks great, the clouds look great and the other planes look as authentic as I can imagine them looking on an iPhone.
That being said, this game suffers from a problem that most flying games have; the ground looks pretty bad when you get close to it. If you are buzzing a base or shooting ground targets it is jarring to see how bad it looks. I grew accustomed to the ground looking fine from a distance, and when I got close I would always think “ewe.” Of course, this is understandable, as it is not a ground based game, and there is only so much power available to render graphics. Still, it is worth pointing out.
This game was clearly made for new devices, and older devices may struggle to run it. I was playing on a 4S, and I never saw any slowdown, but it most certainly felt like it was pushing it to the limit. Just keep that in mind if you want to play this game on an older piece of hardware.
I would have liked to have seen a little more control over the plane with the easy control method. I understand they want gamers to use the more advanced controls, but it seems like they could have added a way to let you perform some of the cool maneuvers with the easy ones. The fact is, not all gamers are going to put forth the effort to learn to play the hard control method, and they are missing out on much of the fun.
Of course, I wish it was not so jarring when you went from the beautifully rendered sky and planes to the ground, but I cannot see them being able to do anything about this with the hardware. It feels as though the game is pushing the iPhone 4S to the limits, and having better visuals on the ground would probably cause some serious performance issues.
This is a really good flight game. You can play it like a simulator, but it still action packed. Too many flight games focus more on the flying and less on the fighting, but that is most certainly not the case with Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy. It is worth checking out if you are a fan of dog fighting, and airplanes in general. I’m glad they did away with World War II planes, because flying around in modern fighters feels so much more bad ass! 8/10