Want the ultimate jetpack joyride? Look no further than Midair, a rollicking combination of altitude and heavy artillery by developer Archtype Studios. The basic concept is capture the flag with the added element of flight, which allows the battles and maps to both be exponentially more interesting. But although each round is unique and exhilarating, I think Midair has a lot of unexplored potential that could make it even more fascinating.
One pre-existing aspect of the game that I really like is the weapon selection. I can personally feel a real difference in my performance based on weapon choice, so I always appreciate it when the various guns are noticeably unique and cater toward different people. I, for one, like rapid fire weapons with high damage, so I loved the machine gun. You also get plenty of exposure to and practice with the different firearms in the practice tutorials, which are quite long but very instructive and entertaining. The game also connects players across multiple network servers, so you can join parties with other online gamers in real time. You can even live chat your teammates and opponents during rounds, which improves communication and can even determine the winning team.
Midair clearly has enough going for it to be a very fun video game, but I believe there are ways it can expand and engage players even more. As I said previously, the tutorials were engaging; in fact, they were such a blast that I found myself wishing that some of the gameplay mimicked the training rounds. For instance, I got to jetpack up air chutes, shut down enemy turrets, and even slide down huge hills using the “ski” function of our equipment. I never (or rarely) got the chance to do any of these things during actual fights, so it would be great to see some of those elements integrated more. Also, in order to play in a real battle you must join a server with other gamers already on it, and that often limited you to playing with certain people and certain maps. Perhaps it was just because I was playing before Midair released to the general public, but there was a large number of empty servers that contained fascinating maps, and because no one else was playing on them, I was unable to explore those different settings. If an individual game mode was developed that was more missions objective based instead of group warfare, gamers could work on their movement and weapons skills on a more personal level and at a slower pace. Finally, the weapons selection is amazing, but it would be even better if there was more character selection and customization to go with it. Ideally, different characters would have unique capabilities and weaknesses, so players could find their ideal match.
All that being said, I still believe Midair has enough energy and variety to stand on its own as a great game, even if no further changes are made. Sometimes, all you want to do is play a simple round of capture the flag while hovering a few hundred feet above ground. My only suggestion is to develop the characters more and allow other modes of gameplay when network servers are empty or depleted, but the only direction Midair can go from here is up.
Watch the Midair Steam Early Access Trailer:
Midair is available for PC via Steam Early Access.