Author: Heath Flor
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Saturday, April 14th, 2012
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Games/Reviews/Panic_Flight/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.
Panic Flight is a side-scrolling flight adventure which straps you in the pilot seat. The goal is to deliver your passengers to their destination without harm; successfully completing flight missions opens up new routes with even more dangers, while failure results in a lot of tears.
The concept of Panic Flight is rather simple: fly from point A to point B without crashing or running out of fuel. This of course is easier said than done, as ominous clouds threaten to slow you down, which in turn burns fuel. In fact it burns fuel so rapidly, you'd think you were trying to fly through cement. One wrong flick of your finger is all it takes to send your plane into a thick cloud, where you'll drain your tank dry trying to get back out.
The clouds aren't the only things out to get you. You may happen across a tornado or lightning storm in front of you, and even a UFO or evil airplane equipped with missiles chasing you from behind. Outrunning them sounds easy enough, but doing so while trying to avoid oncoming hazards can be a challenge.
The difficulty level is rather steep for what many will consider a casual game. Though you can jump right in and understand the gameplay fairly quickly, mastering the ride won't come so easily. The plane follows your finger, which becomes an obstruction in itself. If you have a small screen or a fat finger, it's going to hinder your ability to see what is coming up. Playing on a tablet will help alleviate the feeling of a crowded screen.
While one would imagine a game where utilizing a single finger to play would be fairly easy to control, Panic Flight proves to be a bit more demanding. Keeping a steady flight path is simple enough, but trying to swirl your finger around the edge of your screen and not send your plane into a hazard can be very difficult. Upgrading your aircraft with better controls helps to stabilize it to a small extent, but the slightest error in finger movement will send you careening through dangerous clouds.
Panic Flight is free to play, which is nice as it allows you to sample it without any monetary commitments. There is also a booster pack for $4.99 which gives you 300 "Flight Credits". The credits are used to unlock new planes, levels, and upgrades. You can also earn the credits by completing various missions, sharing your status on social networking sites, and trying out other Android games.
The rewards are pretty small, mostly ranging between 1 and 3 flight credits per task. It will take quite some time to earn the equivalent of the booster pack, and makes it worth shelling out the $4.99 if you want to cut through the time sink. Otherwise you may be wasting weeks of your time trying to open up the game.
It is possible to unlock everything on your own, as most unlockable features allow you to choose between using the flight credits or "Aerocoins" which you can collect during gameplay.
Some features even give you the option to open them up by performing a quest. Unfortunately the quests aren't very accessible, with only two being available at any given time. You can see which quests you need to perform, but there's no clear indication as to when and how they will become open to you, leaving you flying blind, so to speak.
The main mission mode takes you along 18 wild levels where you try to deliver your passengers to their destination without harm. The further along you go in mission mode, the tougher (and longer) the missions become, with the final mission nearly hitting 5000 flight miles.
Infinite mode allows you to fly for as long as possible with no time limit. The objective is to withstand the same hazards you'd find in normal flight mode, and achieve record flight distances. This is actually more difficult then it seems, as my first flight didn't last longer than 200 miles. Even after days of practice, I still barely passed the 1500 mile mark before finally succumbing to a missile.
If you feel brave enough you can share your scores on the leaderboards where you're just as likely to see a soccer mom achieve high records as a pro gamer.
The graphics are pretty sharp and have a cartoonish feel to them. Though the majority of the colors are very bright and vivid, there are some levels where the background visuals are darker, and it can be quite difficult to make out the clouds you're trying to avoid.
There's nothing noteworthy about the sounds. The music has the same endless loop of a 10 second jingle which drives you up the wall within minutes. You can mute the music from the tool menu at the main page, and put on your own tunes if you don't wish to fly in silence. The rest of the sounds are generic, and don't add any value to the overall experience.
Panic Flight isn't a horrible game, especially since it's free. Though it's hard to argue against a free game, the steep difficulty levels, never ending time sinks, and twitchy controls don't put it ahead of the pack. Still, if you're looking for an experience without a lot of thinking and one that gives your reflexes some practice, then Panic Flight will give you the right amount of game at just the right value.
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