Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy Hands-On Preview and Video

Immediately after Apple removed the curtain from the new iPad, they offered hands-on demoes to the press. One of the new apps they had for us to try was Namco’s upcoming Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy, a flight combat game that had its debut today on Apple’s big stage.

The game seems similar to the previous Sky Gamblers, but updates your aircraft from WWI biplanes and bombers to modern-day jets. Instead of gatling guns, you’ll have heat-seeking missiles, and your bigger enemies will be aircraft carriers instead of blimps.

Onstage, the demo included 50 swarming enemy jets in an incredible battle, ending with the pilot ejecting and parachuting safely. Our playthrough wasn’t quite as dramatic– an early training mission teaches you the basics of taking off and landing, set in a barren desert airstrip. You have to hold down the accelerator to take off, and once you’re airborne, you can use a virtual d-pad to steer.

In later levels, we picked off ground control towers, until we finally got our own shot at the jet-spewing carriers. Visually, the game didn’t seem quite as impressive as we’d hoped, though it is optimized for the new iPad’s Retina screen. You could pick out some nice details on the ground, and the game had no trouble throwing dozens of careening jets at us.

Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy doesn’t look like anything brand-new to us, having played a lot of MetalStorm Online, but we can see why Apple picked this game to appeal to their wide, captive audience at their iPads event. It’ll hit the App Store this month.

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