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WarPlanes: A History Of Aerial Combat (iPad)

With the release and subsequent success of the iPad, the lines between apps, games, books and graphic novels has blurred. While some games have little interaction, books and graphic novels include more and more interactive elements to utilise the new technologicalĀ opportunitiesĀ open to them. While many of these titles are sophisticated interactive features, Gameloft’s new offering is a little simpler. Following the success of their first book-app, War In The Pacific, Gameloft have released a book-app all about fighter planes over the generations. In a change of pace for CalmDownTom, here is a review of WarPlanes: A History Of Aerial Combat.

Much like the impressive Portal book-app, Warplanes combines media of different types to create an engaging experience as the user explores the world of aerial fighter planes as much as reads about them. Early impressions of app-books was that they were akin to DVD menus or flash websites and as a result many though of them to be a rather backwards use of technology. With the new iPads quality display and its responsive touch screen though titles like this are more engaging and innovative than you would at first expect. The production values are high in this particualr release, and even those with only a passing interest in the subject matter will be initially won over by the slickness of the whole experience.

Feature wise its a fairly good package. There’s only a little video, but 3D models of the planes look great, even if they are not true 3D models and can only be rotated on one axis. Internal diagrams of the planes are amongst the most interesting aspects and exploring the differences between engines and weapon systems is engaging even for casual aeronautics fans.

At this point it probably makes sense to split this review into two separate conclusions, one for fans of Warplanes and one for those with just a passing interest. For the warplane enthusiast this is a good package. There are a few factual errors, but on the whole the quality of the presentation and the diagrams and 3D models will be enough to warrant a purchase. The only drawback for such enthusiasts is the lack of real detail; it seems likely that they will know a lot of the basic facts presented here.

For those with little interest in planes it goes without saying that they will get much less from this. Its lack of interactive features and paucity of videos make it a somewhat dry experience. Nonetheless, as a way to convince your old Uncle George to buy an iPad and experience current generation technology it might just be a success.

At this price, and compared with a similar paper-based equivalent, there’s no doubt this is a good value purchase and a nice showpiece of tablet technology.

8 black boxes: undamaged out of 10

Published inReviews