Being an avid social media surfer especially because of games, now and then if I am really lucky and the pixel stars align just right – something special will fly across my feed grabbing this short attention span in an instant. A stunning piece of imagery wrapped in the words “diesel-punk’ is all it took for this game explorer to volunteer a journey to Granaria, where a young lady named Amelia resides determined to become the best skyfisher in Granaria history.
For those who may be unfamiliar with Blindflug Studios, Airheart is the sequel to Cloud Chasers. A migration tale that took you to the clouds to collect water so you could survive the deadly deserts Amelia resided in then. This time Amelia is on her own, often echoing the sentiment to her father who is no longer with her and how proud she will make him once she succeeds in catching a skywhale.
Starting gameplay in Airheart on PS4 began a little apprehensively as I am not the most comfortable on a console, my concern was that a flying game would be too complicated taking away from my experience hindering a fair assessment. However, I worried for nothing as this roguelike, twin-stick shooter on console is not only straightforward but also fun.
Your first glimpse of this world is in Amelia’s hangar that is built in the underbelly of Granaria, upon entry you get an options menu with Hangar, Workbench, and Shop. I accessed all with nothing to gain from the shop and no components to use in the two remaining options. You then see her plane and before you know it, you’re launching Amelia in the sky that automatically turns on a quick tutorial earning you skills and bullets to fire from your planes gun. Now, maneuvering the plane on the obstacle course given during this tutorial is quite fluid but when it comes to firing the plane’s gun, the aim is not the easiest to maintain as targets move as much as you do forcing me to opt for flying through pools of fish instead of shooting them because it was often quicker with novice experience.
Once you complete the tutorial you’re off again among floating islands, golden tree’s, loads of fish and sky pirates! Now, like the well-honed MMO player I am, I went in guns blazing shooting everything that moved and it would be some time before I realized this was not the name of this fishing game. Yes, it would also take me just as long to learn how not to crash my plane forcing me to start all over again. Airheart has three personalities: one is dynamic, the next chaotic and the final is zen. The rapid movement and crossing of paths with fish and sky pirates is the chaos. Meanwhile, the artwork is dynamic but it’s the zen part that would not be apparent until days later when I went Leroy Jenkins on racing to portals taking me up without shooting barely anything reassessing my initial rapid fire attitude – adopting a wise fisherman’s “leave-fish-to-thrive” attitude instead.
Each level has a different weather season and each level gets more difficult as you go. The first level is fairly tame while the second brings you in the firing line of sky pirates, learning the hard way not to hit anything but fish and sky pirates! Battles become more concentrated after this needing you to utilize all your tools. I think the most awkward understanding I realized was that I could save myself from crashing not only by finding golden tree’s to give me a flight time boost but by holding down the right key to land safely. By the time this occurred the game was beginning to wear on me as it felt very rinse and repeat which I expected for a roguelike game but not so early or often. After week two the most intricate content in Airheart is remembering where each portal is which isn’t the adventure your pioneering explorer’s heart set out for in the first place.
Crafting is very straightforward, salvage and gather materials to craft however it’s more side content than the main content because of how random it is not being able to tell what you are crafting. Visually the artwork in Airheart remained a focal highlight but unfortunately what stands out most after some time in Airheart is that Amelia’s journey never seems to build. The whimsical beauty that captured my attention in the first place never really expanded or lead to more wondrous adventures or maybe that’s because the Skywhale remains elusive to me at this point and until then that’s the only concern I should have?
Note: Our copy was reviewed on PlayStation 4 with a code provided by PR.