First of all, this game is adorable. It starts with this short animation focusing on a very bored king, when his chief engineer shows up with plans for airships and their paths that can be changed by the king’s machinations. Very excitedly, he agrees to play along, and the engineer begins her tutorial of how to play. You can see the opening video in the trailer for the game below.
The game itself consists of placing different types of fans in a grid layout filled with little houses and cliffs to represent various parts of the kingdom. Airships come out of one dock, and have to go to another one using wind power. The fans change the direction of the wind flow and direct the airships to their proper terminal.
All of these direction changes can in the early levels be done from a single angle, but as you progress and you have to use less direct paths to reach your goal, you need to be able to change your viewpoint in order to make sure where the fans are guiding the airships. Firedroid accounted for this by allowing the players to change perspectives whenever they want. It takes two fingers to zoom in and rotate what’s visible of the 3D landscape and it’s not too hard to figure out what does what when adjusting the screen. It’s a little clunky at times, so in general I tended to start the level by looking for an angle I can leave the screen at from the most part, but the option is there to change it as you like.
This game is fun, but its whole atmosphere encourages a kind of slow pace. The music is soothing and the graphics are comfortable. A lot of the time, apps have this sense of urgency about them, whether through timers or scores or other things too. Kings Can Fly doesn’t have any of that. There isn’t a number of moves that you have to beat to get a star or a perfect. You just take in the relaxing music and the slowly floating ships and look forward to the next level. Even when I had trouble with levels, I never got frustrated with it at all. It’s something that I’m not used to when playing games.
It’s a benefit and a fault of the Kings Can Fly, that it generates a calming mood. It means that the game can be picked up and put down easily which is good, but it might come across as boring at times. The airships fly very slowly if you don’t use the forward button to speed them up, and if you’ve messed up, a screen pops up to tell you there was a crash and ask you if you want to see it. It’s more tedious than anything to decline looking at the accident, and then returning to repair mode, or accidentally agreeing and then having to adjust the screen all over again.
Sometimes the pacing is just a bit too slow if that makes sense. I think that this game would have benefited from a larger storyline. Like, if every area, there was some sort of short comic or sign of how the king was enjoying himself as you play.
Kings Can Fly has such a cute set-up, but you don’t see it again after you’ve started. I’ve barely seen the king, and the engineer is mainly there to teach you how to do things and introduce new fans and tips. A vague continuation of the story would make the game more interesting.
Overall, I think that this game is as advertised and quite a bit of fun. It’s not expensive, and the graphics alone make it worth its pricetag. It’s true that it can feel a bit boring if you play in long stretches of time, but there is a large level variability and the puzzles are just the right difficulty. I would recommend getting this game if you like non-standard puzzles.
You can buy Kings Can Fly or Google Play or in the App Store. For more information about it, visit its official site and Facebook or follow Firedroid on Twitter. For a little extra fun, watch their new Christmas Update (even if the day has passed), complete with Dubstep music!
[review pros="Adorable and strong graphics, very appropriate music, difficulty increases appropriately, large level variability, relaxing atmosphere" cons="Sometimes changing the angle can be a bit awkward, the airship flight is boring, would benefit from story" score=90]