The Blimp is not generally a mode of transport that one might associate with the fast paced nature of the videogame. It even sounds slow…B…L…I…M…P. However, that hasn’t put off developer ‘Grip Digital’ from making it the sole focus of the PlayStation mini title ‘Blimp: The Flying Adventures’.
You are placed in the boots of war veteran ‘Zed Pelin’, who is forced back into action when a small planet is attacked by a “malevolent empire”. Rather than thrusting players directly into battle, you act more like the resistance’s taxi service as you ferry people across levels whilst avoiding enemies and obstacles. That really is the meat of the game, but rather than being boring it is actually pretty good fun when played in bite sized chunks.
Every level has a key objective to complete, which is normally “deliver X amount of passengers to their destination”. Each time you pick up a new passenger, an on screen marker appears showing you where they want to be dropped off. It is then your job to navigate over to the relevant landing platform. Once you have successfully dispatched your human cargo, another marker appears showing the next person demanding your services. It puts you in mind of Crazy Taxi in that respect…minus the Taxi (and most of the crazy).
Once you have delivered the set amount of people, a secondary objective will kick in that requires you to collect a number of items scattered about the level. These items could be anywhere, and normally requires a mad last-minute dash about, searching desperately. ”Why the mad dash?” I hear you cry – well it’s because you have a time limit, so everything you do is a race as the evil little clock merrily counts down. Time power-ups can be found throughout every level, adding ten much needed seconds to the clock, so if you see one then grab it!
As mentioned earlier, you are in the middle of an invasion so it would be daft if you didn’t tool yourself up properly. After level six or so you get access to the Blimp’s bombs, which you can use to try and dispatch merry hell on enemy craft. In an unusual twist it seems much easier to complete levels by avoiding all confrontation and this is down to the unique way the Blimp handles. As one might imagine it’s very ‘floaty’, so trying to get a line of fire on a moving enemy will see you either smack into a wall or succumb to their normally superior firepower. You can either complete the game as a cowardly worm, or spend two glorious minutes fighting like a Tiger…but who’s ever heard of a worm-skin rug?
The way your Blimp handles is actually one of the game’s biggest charms. You need to be constantly adjusting height, taking into account that any change you make isn’t instantaneous, so planning in advance is key. It’s also rather a delicate thing so any contact with walls will drain your energy bar, and even a rough landing will take a chunk off. Trying to balance a smooth ride whilst not running out of time is key.
It’s just a shame there isn’t more variety. Whilst what’s on offer is great, every level boils down to the exact same thing. There are thinly veiled attempts to inject some diversity into proceedings, but it’s mostly cosmetic. The on-screen marker pointing out where you need to go is also incredibly troublesome at times, as it doesn’t take into account obstacles in your way. It might be pointing straight up, but what it will actually mean is head left, then down, then left, then up around the blockade. When you’re against the clock this can get mind rippingly annoying as you hit dead end after dead end.
- Nice art style
- Good fun in small doses
- The Blimp is a good choice of craft
- Lacks variety
- A fairly short game
- Fussy on-screen marker
Blimp: The Flying Adventures is certainly an interesting title. Those who enjoy this type of ‘against the clock’ game will most definitely find something to like here, and combining that with a lovely hand drawn art style, and the intricacies of the Blimp makes this worth a look. Just don’t expect heaps of variety.