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Air Supply – 1bit Run review (iPod/iPhone)

March 12, 2011

“Giant steps are what you take, walking on the moon”

Air Supply - Above Average ... Damn right!

10 word description: Space-themed endless runner; initially monochrome; unlocks & achievements; limited air.

Spaceman Sam - Is he stuck in a time warp or did they really use txt-speak in 1981?

10 word review: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner. Spaceman Sam rocks!

Jumps and double-jumps flow effortlessly as you grab stars and oxygen pick-ups

You will like this if you enjoy: Endless runners, retro-styled games, unlocking loads of cosmetic updates and achievements.

Robot City zone graphics and the robot character are separate unlocks

The good news: It’s your new favourite running game – you just don’t know it yet.      

The "unlocks" menu - kiss your life goodbye.

The bad news: You will have to reconsider your perception that iOS games need to run on the Unreal engine, or equivalent, to be worth playing.

Ooh look, I unlocked blue! Not my favourite colour, but rather soothing.

Arcadelife verdict: Air Supply gets it SO right it’s frightening! Admittedly the core game (endless running with jump & shoot) is hardly original, but Quantum Sheep has somehow put all the familiar components together, dispensed almost entirely with colour in the initial state of the game, and integrated a system of progressive unlocks and an Elite style player rating that mercilessly hook you in much the same way as grinding for the next level in an MMO.

No, really? I guess the game title should have been a clue!

What I find fascinating about this game is that it is very hard to describe how it works so well. If the cosmetic options that you unlock (colours, music tracks, zone graphics, playable characters) were enabled by default at the start of the game, the feeling would be very much, “Yeah, ok, so what?” but having them as a series of plausibly-paced sequential goals to attain just, well, just works. I can’t think how else to explain it. And seeing the main menu displayed in your colour of choice is way more rewarding than it has any right to be.

I recommend clicking on some of the screenshots in this review to see the full size images. I took them on a 4th gen iPod so they are actually a decent size when you view them. Have a look at the detail in the character designs and the background graphics. It’s deceptive, because the retro style and use of a single colour suggests that the graphics will be blocky and undefined. Which, of course, they really are not.

Spot the movie quote - a recurring theme in Air Supply

Scattered through the menu selections, unlocks and achievements are many cool movie references and even a Van Halen lyric, which I deliberately avoided lifting for the header lyric of this review. I love little details like that. There’s a ton of energy, care and probably genuine love that has been put into this game and it really shows.

And then we have the sound. Fantastic ZX Spectrum compositions drive insistently behind shot-beeps and various pings and whistles from the very dawn of gaming history. If you were there, this game will start triggering all sorts of weird, half-forgotten memories that can’t fail to make you smile. If you’re too young to have got all this the first time around, maybe a lot will be lost on you. But still play the game, ok?

Sam jumped so high he went behind his own oxygen bar

One last thought, because I’ve already broken several of my own review rules by writing this much anyway… Imagine Nodes of Yesod being described by someone on amphetamines who has never played it themselves and has only ever heard it being discussed by Clive Sinclair and Lemmy from Motorhead… That’s kind of what this game is like. 

The version of Air Supply – 1bit Run that Arcadelife reviewed is Version 1  

Quantum Sheep website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
3rd gen iPod Touch (OS 4.3)
4th gen iPod Touch (OS 4.3)
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2 comments

  1. Great review. I’m enjoying Air Supply too 🙂 Although I seem to somewhat suck at it..


  2. […] You can read it here. […]



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