Review: Airheart – Tales of broken Wings (PS4)

Review: Airheart - Tales of broken Wings (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • PC, Mac

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: Airheart – Tales of broken Wings
Format: PSN (817.3 MB)
Release Date: July 24, 2018
Publisher: Blindflug Studios
Developer: Blindflug Studios
Original MSRP: $17.99 (US), £14.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: E10+
PEGI: 7
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Audio Review:
The audio review for this game is available on Episode 585 of the podcast.

Gameplay:
Airheart – Tales of broken Wings is a roguelike flight-combat-skyfishing-crafting game with pirates. Huh? Let me ‘splain. You play as a girl named Amelia and the intro to the game lays down just about all the narrative you’re going to get.

That intro is actually the briefest of recaps of an iOS and Android game called Cloud Chasers – A Journey of Hope, also from Blindflug Studios. It’s a nice way to tie the two together and it gives you (an admittedly paper thin) motivation for the task ahead. And while this is a direct sequel to that game, you don’t need to play one to enjoy the other as they both stand on their own.

Review: Airheart - Tales of broken Wings (PS4) Review: Airheart - Tales of broken Wings (PS4)

With the bare minimum of instruction by way of a short tutorial, you’re set loose in the world to try to make your fortune and capture the mythical skywhale.

The gameplay is divided between your base and the sky levels. You fly around a level catching skyfish by simply running over them while fighting off pirates. Each level gives you an indication of how many fish are available and you can only catch so many of each type of fish before they become worthless, at least that’s my assumption.

As a top down shooter, it’s best to think of the levels as a series of stacked plates. You’ll use an uplift portal to move up to the next level with new types of fish and tougher opponents. There’s a risk/reward factor to the game as in any good roguelike.

You can return to your base at the lowest level whenever you want but if your plane’s health goes below 10 it catches on fire and you’re now in a mad scramble to avoid all the floating islands below in a desperate dive back home. Miss your landing and you’ll crash into the desert far below and it’s game over.

Review: Airheart - Tales of broken Wings (PS4) Review: Airheart - Tales of broken Wings (PS4)

While in your base you’ll be able to buy and equip upgrades for your plane while also doing some crafting with the things you’ve gathered in the skies above. The downside is that there’s very little indication as to how you go about crafting. You do get a few indicators at the bottom of the screen showing whether you at least have the correct items in each slot, but there’s a cost associated with each attempt and figuring out the different combinations can be an exercise frustration.

Using all the scrap metal and parts you’ve acquired during your adventures to modify your plane can be useful, but you’ll also need to buy some parts to get through the higher levels. Don’t panic, it’s all in-game currency – the money you receive for your fishing haul. This helps up the ante when you’re trying to get those last few valuable fish while getting pummeled, trying to hold out and then land safely with your entire catch intact.

It can certainly make the game interesting and I enjoy the journey, but a few more indicators would help. I did a ton of fishing on the lower levels and couldn’t figure out why the fish were suddenly worthless. If it said why somewhere, I missed it, so I can only assume it’s down to supply and demand.

Every few levels you’ll be up against a boss, usually a larger or tougher airship so you’ll need to do a fair bit of grinding to upgrade and prepare yourself which could potentially turn some players off. The gameplay isn’t very complicated, so using your weapons and a harpoon against enemies over and over again while skyfishing could wear some people down.

Review: Airheart - Tales of broken Wings (PS4) Review: Airheart - Tales of broken Wings (PS4)

Visuals:
Did I mention that this game is gorgeous? Well I did when I saw an early build of the game two years ago, and it looks even better now. Something about this art style just hooks me, no pun intended. The floating islands have a distinctive angular appearance while the lush vegetation and contrasting colors make them pop.

All the planes in the sky leave small contrails from their wingtips, making it a little easier to track or avoid an enemy. I did however run into a problem with some of my upgrades in the higher levels. I upgraded to a much stronger and darker plane body and wings which made it easy to lose track of where I was in the midst of a heated battle in some spots.

Audio:
The music in Airheart is very reminiscent of the series Firefly. It has a real Old West feel with banjos, strings, and drums and it fits the style beautifully.

The sound effects are subdued but clear, whether you’re hearing police sirens, your weapons, or your harpoon hooking onto something, it all works well.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is one player only with no online component.

Review: Airheart - Tales of broken Wings (PS4) Review: Airheart - Tales of broken Wings (PS4)

Conclusion:
Airheart – Tales of broken Wings has been in development for the PS4 for several years now but it’s finally here and I think it was worth the wait. This is an interesting take on the roguelike genre and it’s drop dead gorgeous, but it’s awfully stingy with keeping the player informed.

Overall I’d say it’s definitely worth your money. Chasing down skyfish, or harpooning the bigger ones, is something I never expected to do, let alone enjoy, despite the minor frustrations. Now excuse me while I go take on the next boss and get one step close to that whale…

Score:
7.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Written by Josh Langford

Josh Langford

Josh has been gaming since 1977 starting with the Atari 2600.
He currently owns 26 different consoles and 6 different handhelds (all hooked up and in working condition) including all consoles from the current generation.

Josh is currently the US PR & Marketing Manager for Fountain Digital Labs and has recused himself from any involvement on PS Nation arising from posting or editing any news or reviews stemming from FDL.

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