“Altitude” has been out since 2009, but was unfortunately one of those games that slipped through the cracks in regards to games I’ve been meaning to try. The game’s primary focus is multiplayer, tasking players with flying an aircraft with or against others on a two-dimensional plane. It has an action-arcade feel to it with multiple game modes…think Unreal Tournament but with planes. Before we get into specifics, I’d like to thank the folks at Nimbly Games for providing me with a free review copy.
The game starts you out in training straight away on your first play session, though you’ll be able to access the menu at any time should you wish to customize things first. When accessing this menu, players will be able to participate in training, fight against bots in single player skirmishes, play against others online, manage their friends list and hangar deck, head to the forums, mess around with the map editor, access the server launcher, and adjust game options. In order to host your own server, you’ll have to download the client from the official page. Luckily, the link sends you to a page that gives you step by step instructions on how to do so.
Players will be using either the mouse, keyboard, or gamepad and it’s worth mentioning that the controls are customizable in the options menu. I found the mouse easiest to use, pointing the cursor in a particular direction to steer my aircraft. The left, right, and middle mouse buttons are used for firing primary, secondary, and special weapons, respectively. The only reason I needed to use the keyboard was to control my thrust, using the up and down arrows. The game is incredibly easy to get into, though players may want to make use of the tutorials to get used to how the aircraft handles.
The interface is also fairly easy to follow. The upper left hand corner informs you as to what perks you chose to bring with you for that match, along with an experience bar and your current level. The lower left hand corner of the screen is a ticker of text, giving players an update on in-game events. The lower right hand corner of the screen functions the same way, except that the updates are more visual by way of pictures. Your aircraft stays in the center of the screen with three bars above it at all times. The orange bar indicates your speed, your green bar indicates your health, and your blue bar indicates available energy to use on afterburners and abilities. Kill streaks are displayed to the left of these bars.
Single player consists of six tutorial levels and a skirmish against bots mode. The tutorials will teach you how to fly your plane and take you through each game mode. Skirmish is a bit more flexible, allowing you to choose the game type, map, bot count, difficulty, and whether or not you want to enable bouncy walls (less wall collision damage). Multiplayer functions much the same way, offering the same game modes that are available in single player. I’m pleased to report that even after four years, the servers are still full of activity. I counted an estimated seventy-five people in various games when I initially snuck a peek at the multiplayer lobby. Having a strong multiplayer fan base after four years says something about the game in question.
What drew me to “Altitude” was the ability to unlock various content. Players will be able to unlock new planes, perks, and skins by earning experience points. The level cap is sixty, though you can reset this in exchange for an “Ace” badge, which is the equivalent of prestige. You can do this ten times, with each rank compensating the user with a new badge and the ability to configure an extra class for one of their planes. Perks act like those found in “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” in that they provide players with unique abilities. After unlocking so many, players will be able to customize their loadouts the way they’d like and experiment with different combinations to see what works for them.
In terms of game modes, there’s deathmatch, team deathmatch, planet ball, and base destruction. The former two revolve around the same theme…kill the other planes as much as possible. The latter two, on the other hand, provide players with a specific goal. In planet ball, both teams have a goal post/net that they must shoot a ball into (like Soccer). Base destruction has a similar theme in that you’ll be trying to drop the nuke on the enemy city. They are all very simple to play, but the variety of player difficulty and perks will keep things interesting from start to finish.
“Altitude” is one of those games that you can jump into for five minutes, mess around a bit, and leave satisfied. There’s plenty of replayability, since you’ll constantly be leveling up your profile and unlocking new content. “Altitude” is light-hearted, action-packed fun at its core. It’s deceptively simple on the surface, but will end up surprising you with its in-depth mechanics should you stick with it over the long haul. Whether you’re in the mood for friendly competitive play or professional / hardcore PvP, “Altitude” has got you covered.
Final Verdict: 8/10
You can learn more about and purchase “Altitude” by visiting the following websites:
You can check out gameplay videos here: