Paper airplanes are an excellent way for children to disrupt lessons in high school, but few adults bother to construct them these days.
While Flight! may not encourage you to take up the arcane art of making paper airplanes in the real world, it may surprise you by showing you exactly how much fun a simple freemium game based around them can be.
An adventure unfolds
Flight! begins with a touching scene of a lonely little moppet watching a well-to-do mother across the street give her daughter a rather expensive-looking Christmas present.
Saddened by the absence of own mother, the girl writes a hasty – but heartwarming – letter to Santa Claus, folds it up into the shape of a paper airplane, and sends it flying through the chilly streets of London.
Everything about the story, from the scratchy acoustic guitar track to the simple animation of the scene itself, is artfully designed to draw you into Flight!'s world.
Up, up, and up some more!
As the letter takes flight, the gameplay begins. Initially, you have little to no control over the flight path of your airplane - you just launch it and hope for the best. The goal is to collect stars (which you can use to buy upgrades) and to cover as much distance as possible.
After traversing a set distance in an unlimited number of throws, your plane will soar from London across the channel to Paris as the gameplay and plot continue to evolve. Wind currents now come into play, and with a few upgrades you can now control your plane's rough trajectory, allowing you to collect stars more easily.
The game evolves naturally. Early throws rarely go farther than 60 metres or so, netting you $100 of in-game currency if you're lucky. But once your plane takes to the night skies of India (level 4), throws of 550 meters are not out of the question, and lucrative runs of $900-$1500 become the norm.
On the topic of in-game currency, Flight! is a great example of how freemium games should work.
While you can purchase in-game currency to upgrade your humble paper airplane at a reasonable price, the amount of currency earned in a few tosses is more than enough to kit out your plane for maximum star-collecting performance.
Reach for the stars
It's difficult to put your finger on what it is that makes Flight! so captivating. The story and gameplay are both fairly simple, but when combined they form a whole that's far greater than the sum of its parts.Flight! delivers a good game in every sense possible, and I found myself returning to its Freeplay mode long after guiding the letter to its destination.