Extreme is an interesting mix of arcade action and story game play. The game play
is apparently designed for anyone in the family from young children to adults. There
are options when you begin to play to choose "Story Mode" or "Levels".
There is also a tutorial mode to get oriented. The game is in outer space with several
characters battling over planets. Your character floats around in a protective layer
of balloons while you bounce a spiny ball back and forth, with a "bat",
to get your opponents to eventually get hit and fall where the winner is the last
one standing (err, floating).
From the Vendor
"Airburst Extreme is the follow-up to our award winning game Airburst and has
been re-written from the ground up to include an interactive Story Game, introducing
the 10 different characters, each with their own Extreme powers, 32 different game
types, most of which are also playable over a network. Watch out too for the new
power ups, spectacular OpenGL rendered graphics and great soundtrack from Abdoujaparov,
Freekstar and Jaffa Mountain!"
- G3 400 or above
- 256 Mb RAM
- 50 Mb of hard drive
- Mac OS X 10.1.5
- Intel Core Duo 1.83
- 1.5 Gb RAM
- 250 Gb hard drive
(with about 190 available)
- Mac OS X 10.4.7
The game was simple to install as most programs on the Mac are. I opened the "Airburst
Extreme CD" image and I was given the familiar Freeverse logo of a monkey and
a girl; with an instruction "To install drag the folder to your hard drive,
watcha!" Yes, they did add the word "watcha!" I simply dragged the
icon over to my Applications folder and it was installed. After the installation,
it was easy to find the blue sphere named "Airburst Extreme Folder" that
contained the Airburst Extreme application.
When I loaded the game, I was running 10.4.6 with QuickTime 7.1. When I first started
playing a game, the game would freeze and I would have to do a Force Quit to get
out. The Airburst website did have an announcement about
incompatibilities with QuickTime 7.1. I tried updating to Airburst Extreme 1.0.1
by downloading the update form their website. Installing the update seemed more effort
than it should have been, but after the update, everything ran smoothly.
After starting up Airburst, you are presented with a menu with the options to play
against the computer, play on a network, set optins, or quit.
Airburst main menu
When trying a new
game, the first thing I do is check the settings ("Options" in Airburst).
I noticed that the sound effects and music defaults to only 25% volume, so I immediately
increased these. Also, the video defaulted to 800x600. I have an iMac 17", so
this was undesirable. Thankfully, this was easy to change to a high-resolution wide
screen setting. As with many games, you can also set the level of difficulty before
you begin. You may also choose between keyboard and mouse controls.
Airburst Main Menu
Originally, I chose
story mode and tried the mouse control option. The storyline mode is not in any
real depth because it is
really an action game. However, you will have a conversation with a character before
each level that explains why you are there and what you are about to battle for.
Then you are off into battle.
Story mode dialog
Airburst is all 3D
and very colorful, and does a good job of submersing you into the environment in
which you are playing. The graphics are good, but nothing spectacular, which is
probably why it runs on such a wide range of Macs. I immediately enjoyed the music,
which had a dance/techno beat to it. On the iMac internal speaker it was nice, but
when I put my Koss headphones on, it sounded awesome.
For me, the mouse control option proved difficult to keep control of the bat. I ended
up spinning around in circles a lot. I quickly lost battles because of this. I am
sure I could tweak my mouse settings to try and correct this, but I chose to go with
keyboard controls instead. With keyboard controls, I was much better, but I still
lost. I had to revert to "kid mode" to get better practice and time to
figure out the different power ups.
It should be noted that the game includes tutorials to help you get started. I should
have used the tutorial, but I tend to jump into games head first. After reviewing
the tutorial, I realized that it would have definitely helped me get up-to-speed.
I highly recommend new users go through the tutorial first.
The game seems to be what you get if you mix the Pong and Breakout games in a 3D
battle environment. There are familiar things like multiple balls, stick bats, large
bat, repair, and so on. Just before you get several balls flying around, you will
hear "Extreeeme!" It was a nice novelty at first, but after several bouts
in extreme mode, the yell started to get on my nerves a little (other player reactions
may vary). However, it is fun to hear the little pops going off as the balloons are
hit by the spiny balls, and it has the fun addictive qualities of Pong and Breakout.
After playing a few rounds, I found I could move around the area by using left and
right arrows. The up and down arrows were for rotating the bat.
At one point, I experienced a reverse in the controls. It occurred somewhere in
the middle of the screen, or battle zone, and although it was only in a small area,
it definitely threw me off. It only happened once, and I'm not at all sure why.
My son (who is eight years old) played this game through several levels without
control issues. He followed the story line mode and we found that the further he
got, more characters were unlocked for use. Also, we discovered special battle modes;
like one that resembled a soccer kickoff.
There is a tedious aspect to story mode. When I lost a battle, I have to start over
completely, which meant that I had to go through the whole dialogue again. The levels
mode seemed to be a way to skip the dialogue. When restarting, you are given the
option to travel to another planet, but I was only allowed to start over on the same
planet that I was previously on. This was a little misleading to me.
With regards to game difficulty, I found that Airburst takes some practice to get
used to. Also, the fact that you only get one chance in a battle raises the challenge.
I assume this is because you can take quite a few hits with all the balloons. I
am usually pretty quick to pick up on games, but yet I had trouble just getting past
the first level. On the other hand, my son caught on pretty quick and advanced
through the levels quite fast.
The game's theme music adds to the excitement of the play. There are several power-ups
that you can get to provide an advantage over your opponents, but you have to be
careful because some items take away your balloons, or you may hit an "extreme!"
power up and spiny balls will be bouncing everywhere. There is even a challenge
mode in the battle where you have to quickly take them out, or you will soon be struck
down. All these features make the game exciting and fun, and highly addictive.
This game also features
a neat ability to change the colors and/or patterns of each character's floating
craft. It is actually a "balloon editor". I found this to be fun to play
with. You can also make your own skins. It also looks like there are future plans
to provide new skins as well as skin instructions at the Airburst website.
Airburst Balloon Editor
Airburst Extreme is an action packed game with several configurable options. The
game is "kid friendly" and my eight year old son really enjoyed it. As
an adult, it took a little longer to get the hang of the controls and levels. If
you are on an Intel Mac, be sure to get the latest patches. There are addictive
aspects to the game, similar to the old Breakout game, but all rendered in a beautiful
3D environment with really good stereo music. Airburst Extreme is a fun family game
and I highly recommended it.
- Exciting and fun
- Easy to install with
several configurable options
- Nice stereo music
- Widescreen high-resolution
- Addictive arcade-style
- Balloon editor
- Gameplay can be difficult
- Graphics are moderate
- Incompatible with
QuickTime 7.1 without patch
- Repetitive dialogue
can be frustrating
4 out of 5 Mice