Folded and launched by the right hands, the paper plane is a thing of aerodynamic innovation and beauty. Sure, most examples may be constructed from exam papers and chucked by naughty school kids, but proper plane papers have been used by the likes of NASA to test the theories of low speed flight.
Despite being one of the first download-only games available on the DSiWare service for DSi console, Paper Plane is no trailblazer.
Indeed, you have to wonder what Nintendo was thinking of, whether in terms of having it as a launch title and/or charging for it. Okay, so it only costs 200 Nintendo Points (£1.80, €2, $2) but that's still money you could spend on something worthwhile. Like almost anything else.
Paper Plane is a slightly reworked version of an old WarioWare GBA mini-game, and not a very interesting one at that.
As the title suggests, you're in control of a paper plane that you have to guide around various obstacles as you float down within a tall brick room. The controls are all button-based (there's no use of the touchscreen here), so you tap or hold the left and right sides of the D-pad to turn the falling plane left and right.
Keeping it simple, there are just three angles of attack per direction, plus a vertical dive position for going straight down. The steeper the dive, the faster you go. The obstacles are vertical shelves of varying widths you float around, plus narrow sections you have to zoom straight down through.
There's definitely a rhythm-type of feel to the game and the floaty nature of the paper plane means you have to anticipate making your turns well ahead of the obstacles' actual arrival. This means every time you start a new level, you spend a lot of time crashing, and this being an old school game, any crash means Game Over.
Of course, this is fairly frustrating. At least in the Time Attack mode, the levels are shorter and you're trying to shave tenths of seconds off your time. Unless you have masochist tendencies, though, the Endless mode is almost completely joyless.
There's also a Race mode, but bizarrely this only operates with two players holding the same DSi; one using the D-pad, the other using the face buttons to control their planes, so you're both twisting to see the screen properly.
Maybe we're being a little uncharitable, but considering people have just spent rather a lot of money for another version of the DS console, we don't think it's unreasonable to expect the quality of the first batch downloadable games they’ve spent that money to get their hands to be higher than this. Even if Paper Plane was free, we'd find its inclusion as a launch game confusing.
All-in-all then, this is something of a throwaway throwback.