Don’t enter my air space. I will shoot you down. I will shoot you down fast. That’s basically all I can do. Exclusion Zone: Anti Air Warfare, from Appular, is a missile defense game that draws its inspiration from Missile Command, even though it plays like a bizarro-version of Flight Control. Simply put: Flight Control is a route-creation game where you need to get your planes to land safely. In Exclusion Zone, you want to guide your missiles so nothing lands safely.
When you start the game, you have access to all of its five levels. In every level, you have a bird’s eye view of an aiport. There are usually two airplane runways, a helicopter landing pad, and two missile silos. From time to time, airplanes and helicopters try to land on the runways and landing pads. You don’t want the aircraft to land. When air vessels start to get near landing areas, you have to take your finger, place it on a missile silo, and then draw an interception path for the silo’s missile so that it will destroy the incoming aircraft. The more planes and helicopters you shoot down, the more game points you collect. At the end of levels, you get a point score. Levels can go on indefinitely and only end when you fail to stop an aircraft from landing.
Of course, there is some skill involved in Exclusion Zone. The further away from a runway that your missile hits a target, the more game points you receive. Unfortunately, far away aircraft are the hardest to shoot down. As you progress through the game, you get better at figuring out where an aircraft is heading and where you should route your missile to intercept it.
Unfortunately, the game becomes tedious quickly. At first, when I started playing, I enjoyed shooting down aircraft—it was surprisingly refreshing. But my initial feeling did not last long. After only fifteen minutes or so, I really got tired at firing at planes, because, unfortunately, that’s all you do in the game. There is nothing more to it.
I will admit that I enjoy listening to the game’s sounds. There is nothing like the noise of a missile hitting a helicopter or plane—it’s an oddly satisfying tone. Graphically, the game isn’t anything impressive. Planes, helicopters, and buildings could easily be rendered better—they all seem a little grainy.
Exclusion Zone is not going to satisfy everyone. If you grew up in the ’80’s, where Missile Command and Pong ruled the day, and video game levels never seemed to end, then you will probably enjoy the game. But the challenge gets old fast, and without level limits or set goals to achieve, Exclusion Zone just seems like a poorly aimed rocket that missed its mark.
[Sam Felsing is an editorial intern for Macworld.]
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