Flight begins on a very sweet-hearted note—a little girl writes a letter to Santa Claus, saying she wants to see her mother for Christmas. She folds it into a paper airplane and flings her wish into the sky. It's your job to get that message all the way around the world.
Earnest and even a little touched, I steadied my iPhone for my first play, determined to make a mighty heave. I swiped my finger violently, and off went the airplane, and it landed with a splat 24 meters down the street.
Flight, the iOS adaptation of the flash game by the same name by Thai developer Krin, doesn't serve up discouragement. Your progressively longer sorties provide a very strong one-more-try measure of determination, even when you have to throw the airplane 15 kilometers to reach the next stage. Flight offers five progressively longer stages in its story mode. The distance you must cover in each is a cumulative total. It'll take you several "days" to get out of a particular country, even with a fully upgraded flyer in Japan. I finished the whole thing in 120 "days," (really, throws) and unlocked its endless play mode.
Plane upgrades are bought with a virtual, freely acquired currency (stars collected along your flight path.) You can make a microtransaction purchase of in-game currency but, really, an hour's worth of play will provide you with a formidable glider, soaring upwards of 800 meters on a single throw thanks to afterburners, rudder upgrades, and boost-providing pinwheels along the ground.
The game's publisher, Armor Games, is its original flash publisher too, and the good thing about many of Armor's mobile offerings is you can go try them before you buy. Obviously, in this case Flight is controlled with the touch screen and accelerometer, not a mouse and a keyboard. The iOS-specific controls are responsive and a natural fit. Tilting your device back or forward noses the plane up or down, and Flight reacts to subtle adjustments as well as steep climbs. That's good, as you are given a limited amount of "fuel" with which you may control the plane. Once it runs out, your plane is at the mercy of the wind.
Flight offers strong pick-up-and-play value and good incentive to return. Even though I delivered the little girl's message and saw her reunited with her mom, I'm more than just trying to fly this plane a full kilometer on a single throw. I'm determined.
Flight [iTunes, $0.99]