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iPhone  header logo

SkylineBlade


For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad

Blunt

Product: SkylineBlade | Developer: Midnight Status | Format: iPhone | Genre: Action, Simulation | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.1
 
SkylineBlade iPhone, thumbnail 1
SkylineBlade could be worse, but only if it was liberally doused in the ebola virus and required thumbscrews to control it. Could it really be that bad? We’re just getting started.

SkylineBlade puts you in the cockpit of a helicopter earning medals in a series of training missions before graduating to Battle mode. Flying at night through a stretching cityscape, training missions present a series of tests: flying through markers, transporting cargo, and shooting stationary targets. This tawdry set of objectives isn’t especially damnable in itself, but almost every other aspect of the game is.

First, the controls are so poorly organised and implemented that the game can hardly lift off. Unsurprisingly, the tilt controls are dreadful by default and attempting to master this grotesque collection of inputs is akin to piloting a drunken, blind, one-winged wasp in a tornado. In short, it borders on unplayable.

Sergeant Failure of the Halfwit Battalion however has to be the calibrate button, positioned almost slap bang in the middle of the screen and apparently there just to look pretty, as no amount of pressing it has any effect on the calibration of the accelerometer based controls whatever.

You're welcome to save yourself from an accelerometer assault by switching to touch controls, yet you'll hardly fare any better. The fire button on the top left portion of the screen is about the only reliable element of the controls. It’s so painfully small and fiddly to access, though, that any praise is relative.

The word ‘TURN’ is positioned on the top and bottom of the right portion of the screen and sliding your finger along one of them in the desired direction is supposed to steer your helicopter. Both are tiny, inaccurate and positioned far too close to the edge of the screen and other touchscreen controls, resulting in regular, unavoidable erroneous input.

There is a ‘LIFT’ slider on the right side of the screen, which cannot be toggled, meaning you have to keep your thumb pressed on it in order to stay airborne. This is especially frustrating when trying to steer and climb at the same time.

At least SkylineBlade makes a valiant attempt at offering a decent sized 3D cityscape to play in, even if constant slowdown and screen freezes that last upwards of two seconds mar the experience.

The front end keeps the slap dash motif consistent and the basely visible female instructor, Shirley Hovart, who explains your various missions, looks like the result of a Google image search on “Anime Air Hostess” and a ham-fisted session with Photoshop’s magic wand tool.

If only that magic wand could be applied to the poor controls, stuttering visuals, and boring gameplay. SkylineBlade is pretty much a masterclass in how not to make an iPhone game.
 
SkylineBlade
Reviewer photo
Fraser MacInnes | 30 March 2009
SkylineBlade is all whizzy 3D programming with a side of horrible controls, bland gameplay and stuttering graphics
 
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