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Namco heads back into the wild blue yonder with Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy, its second foray into the realm of iOS flight simulation games. If you're the proud owner of a new iPad, the game is easily one of the most impressive options available, thanks to its impressive high-resolution visuals and slick animations. A confusing campaign story and useless accelerometer controls are unfortunate, but Air Supremacy offers enough goofy fun to make it worth your while.
Perhaps "simulation" isn't necessarily the operative word when describing Air Supremacy. The game presents a parallel to real-world aerial combat in the same sense that Top Gun was a documentary; it's more about the sensation of engaging in dogfights while melodramatic rock music blares. You'll soar above enemy bases, destroying encampments while keeping an eye for jets on your six. Looping your plane backwards and achieving a missile lock is incredibly satisfying, and as your target plummets downward, you'll quickly get hooked on Air Supremacy's accessible combat.
The game's supremely convoluted campaign story is told through comic book pages, and even if you promised me 50 bucks right now, I couldn't tell you what it was about; something about airplanes and bad dudes. Regardless, the missions are enjoyable and varied. Plus, when you're done with the main campaign, there are a whopping 100 dogfight missions to dig into. Online play offers multiple modes, such as Capture the Flag and Team Deathmatch, and my online matches worked flawlessly, with earned experience unlocking even better jets.
Unfortunately, Air Supremacy falters a bit in regards to its unforgiving motion-sensing controls. Turning on the accelerometer option, I could barely get the plane off the ground. When the nose finally lifted in response to my frustrated convulsions, the jet invariably ended up crashing back to earth. Thankfully, Air Supremacy offers a few control setups, and the casual settings – which feature on-screen inputs – work like a charm.
The bottom line. A highly enjoyable aerial combat game, Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy is well worth the cost of admission -- '80s aviator sunglasses sadly not included.
iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 5.0 or later
Looks great on the new iPad Retina Display. Tons of content in both online and offline modes. Satisfying multiplayer combat.
Accelerometer controls barely work. Campaign storyline is weird and hard to follow.