capsule review

Airburst Extreme

Strange Flavour and Freeverse Software have teamed up once again, to release Airburst Extreme, an update to their popular 2001 arcade action game, Airburst. And as much as I hate the term “Extreme,” it’s a fitting moniker for this fast-paced sequel.

Airburst’s premise is simple. You and other contestants are suspended on platforms high above the planet’s surface by large canopies of balloons called Floaters. You punt balls with the hope of popping your opponents’ balloons and making their Floaters fall while keeping your own intact. You can move your platform around, grab power-ups as they whiz by, and protect yourself with a shield that rotates around your Floater.

Airburst Extreme is basically the same, but it seriously amps up the action. Thanks to new pacing, some of the game’s rounds are lightning-fast. In fact, they may be too fast for some newbie players—possibly the game’s only flaw.

Airburst Extreme includes a host of new power-ups. My favorite is Extreme Damage, which makes your ball grow vicious teeth. The game also brings back many old favorites, such as Sticky Bats, which make your shield grab balls as they pass by, letting you perform precision strikes against a pesky opponent.

Using your shield to continually volley back your opponent’s ball (or balls, as is the case in multiple-ball modes) drives up your power meter, which in turn activates new Extreme Powers. One of my favorites is the Extreme Shield, which creates an impenetrable shield around your Floater so no one can hit you.

Airburst Extreme features a new, interactive Story mode, which lets you learn a bit more about the costumed characters that make up the Airburst world. But although this mode will hold your interest for a while, the game’s strength lies in its 32 arena modes, which let you compete against the computer or other online players. Game modes range from the expected Deathmatch to other, more creative variations, such as Racing and Football.

In addition to fast-paced game play, Airburst Extreme has a killer soundtrack. It’s a combination of rock, pop, and electronic music that really fits this eclectic and unusual game. The game’s OpenGL-based graphics look fantastic; screenshots don’t nearly do it justice— you should download the demo and have a look for yourself.

The game’s system requirements are fairly modest: a 400MHz G3 or better with OS X 10.1 or higher. If you’ve registered the original Airburst through Freeverse, you’ll get an extra treat, by the way. Entering that registration code in Airburst Extreme will unlock a new game mode—a nice little touch for loyal gamers.

The Bottom Line Airburst Extreme outdoes its predecessor in every way. The action is fast, furious, and fun. What are you waiting for?

Airburst Extreme earns its name with lots of fast-paced game play and a variety of creative game modes.
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