I was initially quite looking forward to playing Island Flight Simulator. After the fast paced action of Xenoblade Chronicles X and Rodea The Sky Soldier, I thought a flight-sim would be a nice change of pace. Within five minutes of playing Island Flight Simulator I was wishing I was back on Mira.
The game instantly lands you at a hanger. You are a pilot with no name (literally, you’re referred to as Profile 01) and after a very brief word tutorial you are let loose to the world. That’s when things start to become sour. On this first island you’re invited to check out the refueling rig, the mission board and finally your first aircraft. That’s it really, you can’t do anything else on the island., although not that you’d want to considering how clunky and awkward even walking is.
This is a flight-sim however, so ground based affairs shouldn’t be too much of a concern. So as you enter the cockpit of your aircraft, you’re instantly greeted by the horrific textures of dials an gauges that do nothing in this supposed simulation. Things don’t get any better once you’re in the air.
I’ll give the game credit for the simple enough controls. X starts and stops your engine, ZR increases the power, ZL decreases the power; it’s as simple as that. To steer your aircraft you use both analogue sticks. The right stick controls the smaller wing at the back and the left stick controls the big main wing (sorry to get so technical here). So the left stick gives you more extreme control while the right gives you more nuanced movement. That’s about it really.
You’re up and away into the big blue abyss, or at least the most texture-less environment I’ve seen in a long while. You have the sky with some clouds and just a block of dark blue that’s supposed to be the sea. Occasionally you may spot a ship nor the pop in of an island if the draw distance is kind enough to you. It’s incredibly bland.
So why are you up in the air? Well, as mentioned before there’s a mission board where you can choose from a few objectives, but they are all practically the same: Fly to this island to pick this item up, fly to that island and give it to them and then return back to base. That’s it. There is not difference aside from some of them being “illegal” where by if you get caught, you get a fine rather than getting paid. It’s boring and mundane, especially since you’re limited to only the first four islands until you unlock a better plane.
I consider myself one of the more positive of gamers out there so I like to give credit where it’s due. The landing sections are pretty tense and offer the only enjoyment to be found in the game. I’ll admit, the first three or four times I attempted to land my plane ended up in a rather pathetic explosion somewhere alongside the runway. It takes a while to get used to the controls and process involved in landing. Once you crack it though, you do get a sense of achievement each time, even though it quickly becomes almost second nature to you as you’ll be doing it so often.
Aside from the landing it’s a game that seems to lack any sort of meaning. It’s slow, repetitive and offers nothing interesting to keep you playing. As soon as I took off and pointed my plane in the right general direction I got up and did something else, did some housework, went to make a coffee, I’ve even wrote bits of this review while the plane slowly flew across the abyss. While there’s no real competition out there on the eShop, you’re genuinely better off waiting for something better to come along. You can’t expect much from a flight-sim with such a low price, but you should at least expect something to keep you entertained. It’s not just unpolished; I don’t think it’s actually finished.
– Landings are tense and somewhat satisfying
– Awful textures
– Repetitive gameplay