Sky Gamblers: Rise of Glory Review

Namco Bandai’s ambitious World War I flight simulator is a remarkably hard bird to pin down. It looks terrific, with gorgeous 3D graphics, sweeping landscapes, and detailed plane models. The game uses the A5 dual-core chipset for added visual effects and smoother gameplay. It even supports some keen new iOS 5 features like Airplay support through your iPad 2 and saving to the cloud.

On the other hand, it’s incredibly difficult to learn to play. Over the course of the 12-mission campaign, players will be tasked to fly a variety of now-ancient fighter planes through enemy territory fraught with danger and death. There’s not much story line, but the gameplay fills in any voids left by a lack of narrative.

Make like the Hindenburg, blimp.

Beyond the campaign, there are 100 different dog fight missions for quick actions, a mission creation tool, and even eight-player online battles. So, Sky Gamblers certainly packs a punch for the cost. The problem is the learning curve.

Rise of Glory uses a d-pad, accelerometer controls, swiping, and action buttons all at the same time to control its planes. To say it takes practice is an understatement. Main steering controls are entirely accelerometer-based, so expect to spin, twist, and turn the iPhone/iPad in crazy ways. Throttle and minor steering adjustments are handled with the d-pad. Swiping in various directions performs special evasive maneuvers and weapons are handled with the virtual buttons.

Locked and loaded.

There are no options to reconfigure the controls, so players are stuck getting the hang of the base controls whether they like them or not. The accelerometer controls can be a real bear, especially in the heat of battle. Constantly steering a plane in 360 degrees to track enemies in your gun sights takes a lot of finesse, and fine aiming can be incredibly difficult.

For gamers who enjoy combat flight sims, however, Rise of Glory is worth the hassle of its learning curve. It’s a truly complete package, with extensive multiplayer options, a great presentation, intense action, and options for hundreds of single-player missions. The game certainly isn’t for everyone, largely thanks to the steep learning curve, but for players who are up to the challenge, it’s a worthy recommendation.

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