That title might suggest some kind of Minecraft clone where the only building materials are broken cardboard boxes. Happily, it’s nothing of the sort – in fact, Pixelmator Team's App Store debut is a surprisingly accomplished little game.
The story goes that in the downtime between wars, Vikings keep themselves in good spirits by flying through the air aboard wooden logs, sliding down rickety ramps to facilitate these brief airborne journeys.
As a rookie flapcrafter – the title given to these avid aviators – you’ll first need to learn how to launch and how to dive. Holding your iOS device of choice horizontally, you tip it left to ascend and right to descend.
Up in the air
Then you’ll be given trickier tasks, such as flying in a straight line for as long as you can and reaching the middle of the nearest village from the take-off point – easier said than done when the only power you have behind you is a lightly fluttering breeze.
Fortunately, your flights up to this stage should have earned you enough points to purchase an equipment upgrade. Your tally depends on distance, maximum height, top speed, and flight time, with a bonus awarded for achieving the level target.
At first, you’ll only be able to afford to glue a pair of chicken wings to the log, marginally increasing the glide time. But soon, you’ll have amassed enough points to purchase rockets and more aerodynamic logs.
Flight of the navigator
Dashboards are also available, providing vital information on your speed, altitude, and the amount of rocket fuel remaining (essential for the more exacting challenges that lie ahead).
Meanwhile, you can grease or ice the ramp to provide the perfect take-off, theoretically extending your flight.
Challenges range from Easy to Insanely Hard, with five tasks in each category. To accomplish these, you might need to hit a certain top speed, touch the foliage near the ground for a number of seconds, fly far enough to discover a sea monster, or reach the same height as a Viking balloonist.
For a long time, you can simply repeat each stage until you’ve amassed enough points to buy the equipment that all but gives you a bye. The final set of levels, however, provides a couple of tests that will take several attempts to beat – particularly the ultimate challenge.
Even so, it’s over all too soon, and without any achievements or leaderboards - or anything of that ilk, for that matter - there’s no real incentive to top your best flights.
It’s a significant problem, but it’s not enough to stop us from recommending Flapcraft. While it lasts, it’s a joy, and a large part of that is down to some genuinely beautiful graphics.
Hirsute you, sir
The cartoonish art style is sharp and expressive, and the animations subtle and smooth. Witnessing the thick hairs of your avatar’s luxuriant beard blowing in the breeze has an oddly hypnotic effect. That the fiddle-led soundtrack is so incredibly hummable is another bonus.
If the brevity doesn’t bother you, then buy with the same confidence demonstrated by Pixelmator Team here. If the developer makes good on this promising start, a long and successful career in iOS gaming surely awaits.