Aera, which caught our eyes 7 Sept has flown the coop to some pretty good reviews at the App Store and is waiting in the wings for another good review. Connor, here at TMA will be doing a formal review soon, but in the meantime, he has leaked some preliminary impressions:
If F.A.S.T. seems intimidating and you want a fun, casual flight / air combat sim, Aera could be what you’re looking for. The controls take a bit of getting used to, but once you get them down, you’re off. Aera is a 2D flight sim, so don’t expect Microsoft flight simulator realism. Get ready for a fun, operational flight sim.
iChromo, Aera, $2.99, 7.3 MB
Aera is a casual flight simulator – it is flying game for everyone.
The physics model, dynamics of the planes and controls are specially designed and tweaked to make it feel easy, fun but “real”; the gameplay mechanics and controls were build from ground up exclusively for iPhone/iPod.
The game has detailed 3D environments and aircrafts, 3D cinematic camera; but actual gameplay happens in 2D plane, as it would in side-scroller, but the dynamics of the planes is “real”. So, you get all the benefits of flight simulator, plus easy/natural controls and beautiful 3D graphics. The restriction of the gameplay to 2D plane allows us to do few magic tricks to make sure environment around you is always very detailed and nice looking, and there are no rendering artifacts like popping pieces of terrain, horizon clipping, etc; or just very simple artificially looking terrain – all the things you see in pretty much every flight simulator. Aera looks better than any flight game on iPhone. Also, there is smart cinematic camera system in the game, to make sure you you feel the speed and the action.
Also, the game has very stylish design of menus and user interface, with beautifully hand-painted artwork.
Some key features of Aera:
* Unique mix of a side-scroller and a flight simulator
* Great step-by-step tutorial, will get you flying in no time!
* Different mission types (Aerobatic/Solo, Dog-Fight, Race) plus bonus – Free Flight
* Advanced and carefully tuned physics simulation
* Controls specially designed for iPhone/iPod
* “TimeBack” feature – rewinds time to quickly retry after crashing – no need to start over again!
* Different Locations and Planes to fly
* All the environments are carefully modeled in 3D
* Advanced rendering techniques are used to produce very stylish visuals
* Video Replay – watch the mission after you played it; change angles, pause, and more!
* Fast loading times
* Local WiFi MultiPlayer Game (Duel and Capture the Flag)
* The game was in full-time development for over 7 months!
Game has pretty much unlimited re-playability value – even after you complete CAMPAIGN, you can replay missions in Quick Game mode with newly unlocked aircrafts, improve your records, develop new tactics, etc. The gameplay is open, so you can do it over and over again, and every time differently. Quick game Combat mode lets you use different tactics, so playing it over can be different every time.
We do plan to add more locations/levels in updates, as well as adding more layouts in quick game SOLO. There are also ideas of possibly new game modes (which would require you landing the aircraft among other things, interactions with static and mowing objects (trains, etc) ). And global scores, naturally.
And of course adding more aircraft models, with more different params.
Overall, we plan to support and improve the game over long time – to make it even better
We have a lot of good ideas, and already started to receive some really interesting ones from players as well.
IMPORTANT: Known Issues
Please unplug your iPhone/iPod from computer when playing Aera, otherwise game can freeze occasionally; this issue is being addressed, will be fixed in the update.