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iPhone  header logo

Blue Skies

For: iPhone   Also on: Android

Feeling the need for speed

Product: Blue Skies | Developer: Rocking Pocket Games | Format: iPhone | Genre: Shooter | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 2.0
 
Blue Skies iPhone, thumbnail 1
The screenshots and description on the App Store paint Blue Skies to be an action-packed aerial adventure: a lone helicopter pilot swoops in to a tropical jungle to beat back an enemy invasion. Dynamic weather, massive maps, upgradeable weapons, an original soundtrack – it's the coolest stuff since Iceman hit the silver screen 20 years back.

And yet absolutely none of this matters without spot-on controls. Thankfully, Blue Skies squeaks by with finely-tuned controls that are easy and responsive. Quite simply, this is one helicopter that is a joy to fly.

In landscape mode, tilting your handset moves the chopper. Firing off bombs or missiles takes a quick tap of left and right software keys, respectively. This is utterly simplistic stuff, yet is so expertly tuned so that manoeuvering is intuitive and blasting bad guys is fun.

After completing a series of helpful tutorials, the main levels find you roaming the jungle, halting a relentless enemy advance with a barrage of missiles and bombs. Advancing requires destroying a preset number of enemy vehicles and then head back to the landing pad.

Complete a level and you're treated to a tiny bit of exposition. Manga-style characters jabber away at each other, the baddies make hyperbolic threats, and the goodies pledge to enforce justice. The story is utterly irrelevant but the melodrama is amusing and, although it adds nothing to the main game, Blue Skies would feel a little emptier without it.

It's quite clear that a lot of love has gone into this game – the controls work, the graphics are rich, the weapons are convincingly devastating, and the soundtrack drives you through each destructive level. All this makes it that much more startling when you're speeding through the jungle and get stopped by a bright red line that intersects the lush tropical foliage for no good reason.

Rocking Pocket Games clearly has an eye for detail, so having a bright red line mark the square-shaped perimeter of each level is jarring. While it's understandable that each level is of limited size, it's a shame that the perimeter was not implemented gracefully and with respect for the overall aesthetic.

Furthermore, determined players will find that Blue Skies is ill-suited to prolonged play sessions, the search-and-destroy play quickly gets repetitive and offing the required number of enemies in order to complete the level feels less like a game and more like a chore (albeit an unusually tropical and explosive chore).

Blue Skies doesn't possess extraordinary depth, then, yet it counters that with great aerial action. Take a seat in this cockpit and you'll instantly enjoy the controls and the constant action. It may not be the longest ride, but it's fun while it lasts.
 
Blue Skies
Reviewer photo
Olly Farshi | 2 October 2008
Blue Skies has little depth, but the wonderful controls will keep you coming back for more
 
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