Airheart: Tale of the Broken Wings is a strange mix to say the least. It tries hard to fit in with several genres that don’t usually meet, and while it has several good features, it also falls behind a bit as it wonders if it made the right choice with regards to the genres involved.
Now, there was a woman many years ago, by the name of Amelia Earheart who attempted to fly solo around the world, and actually did a good job until she suddenly disappeared, never to be found again. There’s plenty of rumours surrounding her disappearance, but that’s not why I mention her, and by now, you should have spotted the influence of the game’s name and put two and two together. I’ll just wait a moment for those that haven’t caught up.
Right, Airheart as I said, is a mix of genres that includes vehicular combat, twin stick shooting and a rogue-like mechanic that merges into an interesting finished product. Whilst there are some flaws in the game, there are some beautiful moments to be had, and one of my favourites parts of Airheart is the music. Starting off softly, a relaxed melody will play out and accompany Amelia and yourself as you fly around the opening stage hunting for sky fish. It’s simplistic, and won’t trouble you even with a handful of other planes doing the same. A platform will be close by that allows you to ascend higher up into the skies to the next level and even more sky fish and enemies. Also worthy of note is how the music is layered, adding more instrumental pieces and giving the audio a greater presence the further you ascend into the atmosphere. I love this effect, and it is a strong part of Airheart.
Visually, there is a cell shaded look to everything as you get closer to it, but this is mostly when you’re on the ground in Granaria. Not popular with everyone, but I do like cell shading and it’s not intrusive as you may think here. Once you’re out there harpooning fish and shooting down the bad guys, you’ll probably forget all about it in the midst of the floating islands vista. It’s here where the visuals look their best anyway.
The crafting side of it is rather confusing, as there is no telling what exactly you need to combine for everything that is currently unknown to anyone. That and sourcing items is a long and drawn out process as you will earn very little with each sortie, meaning that patience will be required by the truck load. However, there is a shop which you can purchase new parts for you aerial adventures, and this in turn upgrades your plane in various ways. You can even mix and match parts for a rather unique look, but once again, acquiring enough coins to pay for these prices pieces will take quite a while, as some are very expensive.
As a rogue-like, Airheart isn’t quite the game it could have been, and instead, I believe the usual 10 hour or so story driven game would have suited it better. Maybe I’m wrong, I don’t know. Everyone has their own opinions of what suits the game best, and that is mine. Not to knock the game too much though, it is a pleasure to play given how easy the controls, but it’s incredibly disheartening to crash and burn and lose everyone should you get shot down and become unable to reach Granaria. These happened several times to me along with losing saves on the odd occasion.
Airheart is interesting as far as the genre mash-up goes, and does an admirable job. The audio is just amazing to listen to as you search for more supplies and sky fish, while engaging in combat. Definitely a highlight for me. And while the game offers little in the way of actual gameplay, it’s quite relaxing too. It may appeal to a small niche of gamers, and I’m certain that there will be more that like it than don’t.
Developer: Blindflug Studios
Publisher: Blindflug Studios
Release Date: 14th August 2018
Price : £14.39
File Size: 1.06GB
Xbox One copy provided for review purpose.
Available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One & Steam