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AppStore Game Review: Sky Babes vs. Fly Boys

Posted by: Randy at 4/10/2009 2:07 AM
You pilot a World War II-era cargo plane and your mission, pure as the driven snow, is to get packages from one city to the next.  Pick ‘em up and put ‘em down.  It’s as simple as Pac-Man…if your rival ghosts were actually running around the board competing for pellets rather than hunting you down.  And while Sky Babes vs. Fly Boys’ route lines may allude to Old Yeller’s connect-the-dots gameplay, the locations that you tirelessly pilot around range in scope from Europe and North America to Asia, Oceania and the World.

The twitch gameplay arrives in the form of skyrocketing fuel prices.  The ticking clock counts down to the next inevitable price hike, with fuel charges doubling in cost every 60 seconds:  $1, $5, $11, $23, and so on.  The initial jump from $1 to $5 is, of course, more than double, but you should be amassing a tiny fortune by then to stymie inflation.  Your three equally-indefatigable rivals course the fully-rendered maps with a steady hand, taunting you when they beat you to a destination, resigning to failure when they finally bounce their check on the fuel bill.

Your pilot is either the Baroness von Kargohaulin or Cassie Nova (representing the Sky Babes side of things) or Ace Boomer and The Duke (who comprise the Fly Boys).  Their differences are purely cosmetic, as no one pilot has an edge in abilities over the others.  Unless you count the Baroness’s stunning figure and Frau Farbissina accent to be a definable asset in the sky lanes.

Cusped in easy, medium, and hard levels, the cargo capacity gradually increases along with the difficulty as well.  In Sky Babes’ purest form, you grab one package -- worth varying amounts -- and drop it off in one destination city.  At medium, your strategy has to unfold to make allowances for two onboard packages.  With typically longer flight paths, it becomes less lucrative (and lacks initiative) to travel the cleanly-detailed globe with a half-empty cargo hold.  The highest level of difficulty expands your freight limit to three packages, plus the AI will give you a run for your money as your flights span the entire day-and-night-cycle globe.  Scramble for that package going from Mogadishu to Madrid, pick up a crate right next door going from Manchester to Milan, spin the globe west since there are no more outgoing packages in Europe, then grab three globe-trotting packages -- bam, bam, bam -- in Bangor, Albany, and Las Vegas.

Delightful moments emerge as you beat rivals to the punch, or you divert your course on-the-fly as a pick-up opportunity opens in the middle of a long trans-Pacific run.  A grimace is warranted as the start of each level as a blind, Hungry Hungry Hippos run takes over for the nearest starter package.  And it’s also unconvincing when each one of your rivals forfeits the race within seconds of each other (like clockwork once gas prices hit $95, although they’ll make it to nearly $400 gas prices on the last level).

There are also occasional bugs that’ll hit your iPhone’s windshield -- one is a (rare) crash to desktop, while another makes rivals (or you) disappear inexplicably for the remainder of the game.  But we’ve spoken with developer A.C.R.O.N.Y.M. Games and they assure us that a patch is in the works and on the way within the month.  [Version 1.1 is now available - Ed.]

With a fun, finger-jabbing intensity, it’s hard not to crack open a five- or six-minute run of Sky Babes.  The gameplay continuously loads up the compulsory need to bounce along trade routes and edge out rivals with sharp, survival-of-the-fittest moves.  At a certain apex in every game, it’s possible to enter a Zen-like state of rhythmic tapping and progression.  Grade:  B-


Sky Babes vs. Fly Boys was originally released by A.C.R.O.N.Y.M. Games on
March 11, 2009.  The version reviewed was release v1.0 and has a list price of $0.99 at the time of publish.  Check out screenshots after the jump.