Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy

Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy

Tear up the skies in incredible clarity

Developer Namco unveiled Sky Gamblers at the new iPad launch, with the game designed to be one of the pioneers of what Retina display gaming can and will look like. It’s a glimpse into the future that will excite anyone with, or planning to get, Apple’s latest tablet.

Visually, Air Supremacy is jaw-dropping at times, with the little details like heat shimmer and sunlight bouncing off the ocean really making all the difference alongside the improved general sharpness that Retina display brings. In truth though this game looks amazing on any device, and it’s these finer touches that ensure this.

In terms of controls, Air Supremacy uses tilt-based motions to manoeuvre your aircraft, with on-screen icons that are designed to look like a heads-up display for firing weapons and dispatching flares to ward off enemy missiles. The game is very responsive, and once you’ve got the hang of the sensitivity – keeping your plane level and smooth takes some time to master – then break-neck turns and barrel rolls will soon be part of your aerial repertoire.

It’s worth noting that as well as the movement-based controls you can use some touch controls on screen to change the trajectory and speed of your plane. From the in-game menu you can also deal out orders to your wingmen, whether it’s to attack a set target or defend you. There’s a camera change option too that includes a cockpit view should you wish to heighten your experience a little more. You can even turn on autopilot should you want to focus on the shooting aspect.

Air Supremacy boasts a game engine that can deal with up to 50 independent aircraft on screen at once, and this makes for some amazing-looking dogfights. Considering this level of processing power, it’s even more impressive that the game remains smooth throughout, no matter how many enemies fill your crosshairs.

So playing this game is a fantastic experience, but the number of ways in which you can play it enhances things hugely. For £2.99/$4.99 you get seven individual single-player modes, all of which are available instantly and do not require any kind of in-app purchase. It’s a satisfying move as far as the consumer is concerned, as in the past you could pay more than you do here, for half the options. The game modes range from the main story in Campaign mode, to a selection of team-related combat setups. These missions can be customised to suit you, with scrollbars to alter the amount of time that each game lasts, plus the level of difficulty you will face.

Then there’s the Dogfight Missions section, which contains an incredible 100 missions, set across six landscapes and with varying numbers of aircraft in each. It’s a staggering amount of depth to offer without any extra expenditure, and for a game that looks as good as this one does. The phrase ‘value for money’ seems appropriate at this time.

You’ve also got an expansive Multiplayer mode, which gives you the opportunity to take part in huge online dogfights with other players, or have a one-on-one deathmatch locally via Wi-Fiagainst a friend also playing the game only adding more value to this package.

All of this gameplay time is accompanied by a nicely themed soundtrack that brings an extra feeling of suspense and drama to the action. Above all it makes Air Supremacy feel more like a console game than an iPad game, and this can only be a good thing considering you could potentially play it while sitting on the bus.

Sky Gamblers then might be the first of a new generation of iOS games, but it won’t be easily left behind by the competition in coming months.

Rated 5 out of 5

Epic battles and great graphics, make this a must-have iPad game.