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SciFly: Dogfight

For: iPhone

Lots of bark

Product: SciFly: Dogfight | Developer: Licentia Software | Format: iPhone | Genre: Arcade, Shooter | Players: 1 | Version: US | App version: 1.2
SciFly: Dogfight iPhone, thumbnail 1

Science fiction teases the impossible. Alien invasions, utopian states, polished use of the accelerometer – some things require a greater suspension of belief than others. SciFly: Dogfight demonstrates the latter is barred from the realm of fiction, masterfully utilising the feature for spot-on flight action. Like many works of science fiction, sadly, this is a game with an intriguing hook, but little substantive content.

Flying is as simple as tilting your handset. Phenomenal use of the accelerometer ensures responsive handling. A sensitivity setting in the options menu allows you to tweak it, if desired, but the default value works wonderfully. Along with basic movement, you can roll your ship by tapping left and right arrows in the respective bottom corners of the touchscreen.

Firing weapons in SciFly: Dogfight is done with a press of the attack key in the upper right corner. An action gauge restricts how often you can fire, however, refilling when your weapon is not in use. Each ship comes with a single unique weapon starting with the Avenger's heat-seeking missiles. Accessing the other three ships and corresponding weapon loadout – Phoenix's heat laser, Viper's machine gun, and Gladiator's flak cannon – requires spending credits earned from battle.

Each battle tasks you with earning point for downing enemy aircraft toward a goal of eight points. Two point are awarded per kill. Crashing or being shot down, however, costs you a point. Bonuses are doled out for quick completion and multiplied by the level of difficulty. Take out four fliers in quick succession on Ace difficulty and expect to rake in the credits.

Of course, it's easier said than done. SciFly does well in clearly distinguishing among its three levels of difficulty. Hit up a battle in Recruit and you're able to easily wipe a bunch of foes from the map. Bump it up to Experienced and things get noticeable harder. On Ace, enemies zero in on you the moment you take off; it's tough, yet still manageable. You always feel challenged because enemies are persistent, but never does the game grow aggravating thanks to mindful combat balancing.

The graduated difficulty curve represents just one part of a balanced and finely-tuned whole. What SciFly: Dogfight lacks in content it more than makes up for in sheer quality. Four fighters and three levels limit the game's long-term value, even though what little time you spend with it is nothing short of fun. Clearly, much time was spent primping and pruning mechanics to ensure they perform smoothly. Effortless controls, balanced combat, and solid visuals ensure the game flies the user-friendly skies.

SciFly: Dogfight
Reviewer photo
Tracy Erickson | 14 November 2008
Superb tilt controls and tight combat ensure a smooth flight
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