Flight games seem to have found an unlikely home on the iPhone and iPad, and Namco’s Sky Gamblers has already proven the genre can work on a touch screen. The sequel takes the basic air combat concept and takes off, with a modern wartime setting, faster planes, more fire power, and better graphics. Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy has been getting a lot of press thanks to its inclusion at Apple’s latest iPad launch ceremonies, but it’s a great looking game no matter the device.
Air Supremacy works well, with a variety of control settings to accommodate both the novice and more air-experienced pilot. The tutorial helps lessen the learning curve, but it can take a few tries to really get the hang of high-speed combat. Once learned, combat is fast, furious, and surprisingly fun.
Negative, Ghost Rider.
There’s some plot regarding the game’s protagonist– a sort of man without a country who falls in with some mercs’¦ or something. The story unfolds through unnecessary comic-book panels, and is mostly throwaway and frequently hard to understand. It hardly matters once you’re in the air, though.
Sky Gamblers is a largely impressive looking game. Although the new iPad’s sharper screen and quad core lend some gorgeous levels of extra eye candy, non-early adopters can take heart. The game looks great on older systems as well. That said, there are occasional examples of textures and objects that seem to have gotten lost in the shuffle– ugly ground textures, or poorly done troops, for instance.
You can be my wingman any time.
The main campaign offers up an impressive variety of mission types. There are plenty of dog fights, bombing runs, urban attacks, canyon runs, ground strafes, and various combinations of all of the above. The environments move across deserts, cities, lush forests, and other locales, and help to keep the missions from feeling stale.
Beyond the campaign, there are single-player challenge missions including dog fighting, survival, Capture the flag, and other modes. Better yet, Sky Gamblers supports online play, so you can tackle these types of games with other humans. Namco has said they’ll be expanding the multiplayer modes as well, and the arenas are impressively huge.
Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy is a well-crafted example of air combat gaming. It’s certainly not a flight sim– the focus is squarely on fast-paced, arcade-style action– but there’s enough variety to make it an appealing flight of fancy for pilots of all stripes.