STAFF REVIEW of Airheart - Tales of broken Wings (Xbox One)

Monday, October 15, 2018.
by John Elliott

Airheart - Tales of broken Wings Box art It's been quite a bit sit I've had the chance to sit down and review a title, and the one I chose to break my teeth on again is Airheart: Tales of Broken Wing. What drew me in was watching the stellar visuals in the trailer as your Airstrip flew around fishing and shooting down pirate ships. Let's dive a little deeper though and see if the first impression holds up well.

Airheart has the soul of a old school game, but with the flourish of modern art styles, which creates an amazing back drop and world to play in. The rich and colorful world in the skies full of clouds, floating islands, flying fish and airships that round a great looking title. The story flows with some pop up vignettes that you read along, and sometimes some text dialogue with the main character Amelia. If you didn't get the homage to Amelia Earhart here don't be too embarrassed, as I only figured it out while writing this review. Amelia, is of course is a young pilot, and sky fisher, who is trying to make her way in the world about Granaria. Along with the great visual presentation we are also provided a pleasant musical score and on point sound effects that you would expect in a game that places in the skyies where you are having dogfights.

Granaria is a floating city where your main base of operations is, and above Granaria is where you collect resources. Above the great city of Granaria are many levels where you hunt fish to sell, find salvage and battle pirates, or in some cases, because a pirate yourself. At your Airport in Granaria you will tinker away on your airship with the resources and salvage you gathered to enhance your airships maneuverability, defense and offensive capabilities.

The more you enhance, the higher you can go up the levels to get more lucrative loot, however, the higher you climb the more dangerous the world becomes. This enters us into the cycle of loot, upgrade, climb up the levels and repeat, which gets boring very quickly, as there doesn't appear to be any smaller scale objectives aside from reaching the Sky Whale which at the apex of the sky levels.

Amelia's aircraft comes equipped with weapons of course, which vary in rate of fire, burst size and strength. Along with the basic weapons, you are also equipped with a harpoon which can be used in a variety of ways, like swinging an enemy craft into one of the many floating islands in the sky or to dismantle armor on larger ships. Along with weapon upgrades you will of course have engine and armor upgrades as well, so that your ship can be better equipped for those higher levels.

Pirates are probably the best way to get the salvage you need to craft objects in your workshop, and probably the more enjoyable way to acquire anything in the game. Piloting around and taking down the smaller crafts is pretty simple, but there are much larger warships that are armed to the teeth that are much more challenging, but definitely more rewarding. There are random objects that are floating around the sky levels to collect, but you can also capture the many species of skyfish that are flying around that you sell to buy blueprints and parts.

The blueprints are used in a crafting menu where you experiment to find out what the different parts combined together can create. There isn't any listing of what you can do, but with experimentation (or a quick google search) you will be able to craft anything that you need to turn your ship into a lean, mean, skyfishing, pirate battling - flying machine!

On the controls side of things, Airheart is a typical twin stick shooter that veteran and new gamers will be able to pick up quickly after a level or two to start their grind of fishing, fighting pirates and upgrading their ships. However, one thing I haven't touched on is the fact that this game doesn't have any save point system at all, and if you die, you lose everything that is on your aircraft, including any upgrades you may have applied. Mind you this isn't necessarily a bad thing, but you do discover it by crashing your ship and losing everything, because it doesn't explicitly say that there isn't a save system, so here is your warning now folks!

Airheart was quite enjoyable at first where you get to enjoy the beauty of the game and figure out the controls, mechanics and how to upgrade your ship. However, once you realize this game is quite the grind, and your progress doesn't save, it quickly becomes a chore. I don't want to whine and say the game is too hard though, because it isn't. I totally get that death is a huge component for some games, but because you have to upgrade your ship to be able to reach the higher levels and their infamous Sky Whale. The addition of some sort of save system would turn this below average twin stick shooter into a stellar title, or even the ability to keep any upgrades that you have acquired. Unlike other twin stick shooters where your upgrades are temporary, or you have ammo reserves, you either have the upgrade or you crash and it's gone.

Airheart is great in short bursts, but because of the lack of any save feature, the title quickly becomes unenjoyable and a pointless grind that most gamers would give up on pretty quickly unless they are an achievement hunter looking for a new title to max out on.

Overall: 7.0 / 10
Gameplay: 5.0 / 10
Visuals: 9.0 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10


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