Review: Paper Airplane Chase (DSI)

Paper Airplane Chase
Genre: Action
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: 04/27/09


So, it seems that Wario-Ware mini-games are going to become a hot property on the DSi download service, and that’s not entirely a bad thing. Two-dollar games that are both simple and fun aren’t a bad idea, for now at least, and one could do a lot worse than to take games that are already developed and simply flesh them out a bit. So, after the infectiously fun Birds and Beans, Nintendo is taking another crack at it with Paper Airplane Chase. Surprisingly, this time around our two dollar product is a good bit more fleshed-out than the prior title, and comes complete with, amazingly enough, multi-player gameplay. Less surprisingly, it’s also mostly worth your two dollars, though not quite as much so as Birds and Beans.

Paper Airplane Chase offers three play modes to choose from: Endless, which is a one-player mode that allows you to see how far you can fly without hitting something, Time Attack, which allows you to choose a stage and see how fast you can complete it, and Race, which allows two players on the same DSi to race to the finish line in the shortest amount of time possible. The two-player mode is same console only, which sounds a bit awkward but actually works out reasonably well, and while a wireless multiplayer mode might have been a nice addition, the fact that there’s multiplayer at all is welcome.

As you’d expect, Paper Airplane Chase is a visually minimalist game that focuses more on the charm of the visuals over any sort of technological impressiveness. The game looks simple, but cute, and it gets the job done well enough that the game doesn’t suffer for the lack of visual flair. Aurally the game is once again quite minimalist, as there are only about three songs in the game, and one of those is the same title song that appeared in Birds and Beans. The other two tracks are simple, but they sound fine and work well enough in context. There are also only a few sound effects here and there, like the sound of your plane swishing through the air as you make a hard turn, but they are, again, fitting and work in context. You’ll also see a few Wario-Ware characters pop up here and there in Endless Mode to cheer on your achievements, complete with a little voice clip of them congratulating you for making it however far you’ve progressed, which is cute, if nothing else.

The gameplay of Paper Airplane Chase is about as simple as it gets: push left or right (or Y and B as Player 2) to turn your airplane, dodge obstacles or you fail. That’s it. Despite this incredibly simple premise, the game is quite complex, mostly due to the placement of said obstacles. At first, the transparent barriers that impede your progress will be thin and spaced far apart, but as you play further into the game, the barriers become thicker and are placed closer together, making expert turning a requirement if one values forward progress. In Endless and Time Attack modes, hitting a wall means instant Game Over, but in Race mode, you can crash into the obstacles without anything more than a penalty imposed on you for doing so, as the object is not to survive, but to beat your opponent. Progressing further into the Race and Time Trial modes unlocks more stages for you to fly through in those modes, but Endless mode is where you’ll most likely spend your time, as it’s simple to screw around with, features a good reason to come back to it (beating your own high score), and is generally pretty fun all in all.

Of course, this being a two dollar budget download, much like Birds and Beans, the standard complaints one would expect come along for the ride here. It’s a meager game with two play modes, you’ll see everything it has to offer in the first hour of play, the only point of playing is to earn a high score or a low time, it’s very basic, and you’ve seen it all before. None of this is in any way meant to turn you off from the game in the least, as once again, IT’S TWO DOLLARS, but these are the negatives of the game, and they should be noted.

Honestly, while Paper Airplane Chase isn’t quite as much fun as Birds and Beans, it’s still enough fun to be worth downloading, both because it’ll justify its low price and because it offers some amusing multiplayer. The game is pretty basic from start to finish, but it’s challenging and fun enough to be worthwhile, offers enough gameplay modes to justify the price and then some, and is frankly amusing to play with a friend. It’s derivative, yes, and you’ve played it before, sure, but it’s cheap and fun, and in the end, it more than justifies its asking price.

The Scores:
Game Modes: Above Average
Graphics: Mediocre
Sound: Mediocre
Control/Gameplay: Great
Replayability: Good
Balance: Great
Originality: Bad
Addictiveness: Good
Appeal: Good
Miscellaneous: Good
FINAL SCORE: ENJOYABLE GAME.

Short Attention Span Summary:
Paper Airplane Chase is another inexpensive title that’s worth downloading, thanks in large part to the fact that it’s very simple to play and generally lots of fun. Steering a paper airplane through a cramped maze is simple enough to figure out in seconds but challenging enough to keep you coming back for more, and with three game modes and same console multiplayer, you’ll easily get your money’s worth here. It’s nothing you haven’t seen elsewhere, mind you, and the presentation values are on the lean side, but for two dollars, it’s more than worth the investment, and you’ll more than get the asking price from this enjoyable little time waster.

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