-AIR- Flight : Review

-AIR- Flight : A doujin game resembling Flicky for the SEGA Master System.
-AIR- Flight : A doujin game resembling Flicky for the SEGA Master System.

As a Sega fanatic growing up, I had many opportunities to play the wonderful game known as Flicky, a wonky silly game that involved a bird saving other birds. A fun arcade-esque game for the Master System, made for those nights you had nothing better to do than beat your old high score. Although most newer games seem to forget those youthful days, there are still a handful of games (including “doujin” games) that remain faithful to the unlimited replay value in arcade games.

-AIR- Flight takes gameplay from Flicky, and adds the “anime” style from AIR to make a wonderful game filled with nostalgia,  yet fresh enough to feel like a different game. Before I go any further into the review, I’ll explain what a Doujin Game really is. A Doujin Game defines as a “self-published work” based on other creations or ideas. -AIR- Flight defines itself as a Doujin Game in two ways: It plays like the classic game Flicky, and it borrows the characters, settings, and ideas from the graphic novel, AIR. (Which I also would recommend checking out, as it’s a fantastic VN with an outstanding story.)

Misuzu has to be my absolute favorite character ever. EVER.

Gameplay
-AIR- Flight plays much like the old game Flicky, as can be told by the mechanics of the game. Basically, you’re saving your companions from silly enemies ranging from cats, stuffed dinosaurs, and chickens, just to name a few. Luckily, you have various items (Cups, stars, etc) you can toss at those “enemies” to stop them dead in their tracks. In addition, if any “enemy” touches you, you lose a life. If they touch your friends while they are following you, then they run away and you have to gather them again. The goal of the game is to take all of your friends, and bring them back to the door (Exit), as fast as you can, with as many as you can at a time, while still “killing” the “enemies” and gaining bonus items like invincibility, 2x bonus, and extra lives. Unlike Flicky, -AIR- Flight gives the option of three players: Misuzu Kamio, Kano Kirishima, or Minagi Tohno. Each character, surprisingly, utilizes different physics than the others. Misuzu and Kano seem to be more agile, whereas Minagi has more force and momentum when moving. It truly provides a unique playthough with each character. -AIR- Flight also contains a bonus round at each of the rounds ending in five (5, 15, 25, etc.). These bonus rounds have been adapted almost exactly from the original Flicky, with little to no changes from the original. However, at each round ending with zero (10, 20, 30, etc.), there contains a special boss that you must defeat. The bosses seem simple at first, and later begin to get irritating and annoying, yet aren’t unfair enough to cause reason to blame the game.

Boss time with Haruko!
Boss time with Haruko!

Music
The game takes the fantastic AIR soundtrack and amplifies it into music suitable for gaming. I absolutely love the boss theme and the remix of “Tori no Uta”, which by itself is a fantastic song. If you loved the original soundtrack for the game, then you will love this. I would provide samples for the soundtrack, but I can’t extract the songs from the data file. Sorry. =(

Re-playability
-AIR- Flight shines as an arcade “time wasting” game, where the main objective is to beat the top score. Countless methods to rack up your score exist in the game, from the bonus rounds to combo chains. The game contains three levels of difficulty, yet on normal difficulty the game proves to be very difficult during the later half of the game. You can easily find yourself racking up continues attempting one simple boss. However, score attack mode proves to be the more re-playable, as it consists of bringing as many of your “friends” back to the exit in huge chains, without dying and destroying the “enemies”. Score attack doesn’t end until you die, allowing points to reach high, high numbers, and challenges between friends.

Doggie Train!!
Doggie Train!!

Presentation
-AIR- Flight consists of 50 levels in the Story mode, and three different levels to choose from in Score Attack mode. For a doujin game, -AIR- Flight covers so many little details that it’s hard to tell that the game was created by a small team. Little additions to each characters Game Over pose, to the door they enter the room in. In addition, visual changes are included with each character. For example, Misuzu collects crows (If you have seen AIR, you can relate the crows to Sora, a main character in the later half of the series), Kano collects Potato (Her pet dog), and Minagi collects her “friend”, Michiru. The designer polished the game so well, and as a result the game definitely shines.

Overall Rating
-AIR- Flight excels as a tribute game to Flicky, and as a doujin game for AIR. The gameplay leaves the player attempting multiple times to beat their score, beat the boss, or even passing a simple level. The game, although hard, generously gives players many attempts to beat levels or bosses (You have unlimited continues), and sends off a vibe you wouldn’t expect from a doujin game, in a good way. I love AIR, and this game just made me love it even more. If you enjoyed Flicky or the Visual Novel (or Anime) AIR, then you should definitely check this out.

The game adds humor to the game, even in Game Over!
The game adds humor to the game, even in Game Over!

Download is available here.

-Ace

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