Overall Score 68%
Years ago, in the early 1980's, there was a game called Lunar Lander. You had a rocky surface, and a ship with limited fuel that fell according to gravity. As captain of the space ship, you had to thrust to slow your descent and land on a level piece of ground.
Aerial Antics is a modern 3D relative of Lunar Lander. The player is cast as a crash helmeted man with a jet pack. Sensitive mouse (or keyboard/joy) controls pitch the thrusters forwards and backwards and gently taps on the button give you thrust. The aim is to fly through hoops, land on platforms or demonstrate other flight skills in a time limit. Gravity and wind are all important, and the game often feels like the classic Thrust.
The 3D graphics are cell shaded so they have a cartoon style black outline, this matches cartoon style title screen graphics. The levels include things like buildings, runways, space domes and lots more than the required hoops and targets. The graphics are not particularly attractive but they get the job done and are probably on par with an early Playstation one game.
The controls are very easy to get to grips with. The left button will thrust and right will stabilise, which will instantly stop the player in mid air. Stability in this sense is a bit of a cop out and real hardcore players will not want to take this easy option. Up and down movements of the mouse angle the thrusters, and left/right rotate the world. The angle of the thrusters is crucial. During play, I tended to spend at least half of the time staring at the very tiny jets to work out the actual angle they were pointing.
Hoops, both horizontal and vertical, giant beach balls to bump, bombs, as well as physical level design keep the game levels different. A record of best times is retained but there are still fewer game play elements than the game this reminded me of, 3D Stress Ball. Be warned, the levels with the giant balls are insanely difficult compared to the levels without them.
Aerial Antics should appeal to anyone who likes puzzle games of skill. The soaring feeling in Aerial Antics is great, I couldn't help recalling Space Harrier, the third person rear view shoot-em-up about a man with a huge gun under his arm. This is a fine game but not as good as the renowned classic Thrust.
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