Out of all the titles I saw footage of during the Playstation Experience, “Ultrawings” was the one that left the smallest impression. There was no drama. No real surprises. It just seemed like a game where you fly airplanes and pop balloons. And that’s what it is. In 2D, that is.
In VR, I can only describe it in one word: thrilling.
The game opens, oddly enough, with a strong similarity to “Superhot,” wherein I selected and inserted a floppy disk into a computer and grabbed a helmet to put it on my head. What seemed to start off as a nice-but-gimmicky touch to the beginning of the game quickly evolved into a demonstration of the immersion and interactivity that the developers were obviously devoted to achieving.
Once putting on my flight helmet, I was sitting in the cockpit of an ultralight plane (think a smaller Wright Brothers’ plane with a weed-whacker motor for a prop) wondering what in the hell was going on. Then a voice told me to turn on the fuel, so I reached out with my Move controller, flipped the switch, and turned on the fuel. I followed suit with the magneto (whatever that is) and the engine starter, and then reached down beside my seat to grab the throttle and move it forward.
As I started to roll forward on the runway, I began to feel a small sense of trepidation. Sure, I could the play the part of a pilot while on the ground, but it became apparent that I was going to be up in the air soon.
And I was. And I was smiling. And I was leaning out of my cockpit, staring at the ocean and ground beneath me. And, under the guidance of my friends are air traffic control, I soon landed my ultralight with a small sense of (embarrassingly enough) pride.
I’ve since taken many flights in different aircrafts. I’ve shot at balloons with a revolver. I’ve nose-dived down the side of a volcano, and I’ve made my stomach churn with steep climbs, steeper drops, and breathtakingly close calls.
Perhaps, however, one of the greatest things about Ultrawings is the thing I rarely seemed to notice much at all: I wasn’t actually holding a flight stick. The developers have put such car into delivering a tactile response while using the Move controllers, that I rarely (if ever) felt like I was losing control of my craft due to tracking or controller issues rather than simple inexperience as a pilot. Varying levels of vibration in the wand are extremely well utilized to ensure that I never felt out of touch with my plane.
I feel selfish asking for more from this game, as I have been blown away by the amount of content I’ve seen and the amount of pleasure I’ve had in my time with it. But sometimes a product is just so good that you have to ask and beg for more.
Please, Bit Planet, give us a sequel, and give us multiplayer. An experience this wonderful needs to be shared.