Game

Review: Airplane Mode Doesn’t Get off the Ground

Screenshot: Airplane Mode

When I found out there is a game simulating a trans-Atlantic flight, I couldn’t help buy think of Desert Bus, a game off of Penn & Teller’s Smoke and Mirrors—a compilation of games for the Sega CD. Desert Bus is a game about a simulated bus trip from Tucson,Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada. It requires the player to interact with the game for eight hours to complete the trip. At least in Airplane Mode, you’re merely the passenger, so you can kick back and relax. In theory, anyways.

When I booted up Airplane Mode for the first time, I knew right away it would be a Spartan experience. There are two options: JFK-YHZ or JFK-KEF. I had to look up these airport codes—but the destination doesn’t really matter as much as the trip itself. After setting my graphics to High, I dived right in. The AMC logo appeared, and so did the IFC logo—so far so good.

Screenshot: Airplane Mode

Seated at a window seat with a whole seat between me and the passenger in the aisle, I knew this would be a good trip. When I heard there was an experience simulating airplane travel, I didn’t expect to be greeted by a stewardess, much less have the ability to watch some in-flight entertainment. And even though I took the two hour flight, the longer flight has meal service.  My excitement to proceed was palpable. So I sat back, and waited for the magic to happen. And then everything started to slow down.

Let me preface this: my computer is well beyond the recommended specifications for Airplane Mode, but somehow, before taxiing was complete, the game broke down into an unplayable mess. I mean, you’re not really “playing” but the frame rate dropped an insane amount. I couldn’t even flip through my in-flight magazine without an unpleasant delay.

Screenshot: Airplane Mode

“Fine,” I thought, “I’ll just reduce the graphics settings.” Again, to be clear, I should be able to run this game quite handily at 1080p (its max resolution) but nevertheless, I reduced the graphics settings only for the frame rate to tank around the time the stewardess was giving us the safety brief.

After a short time researching the issue, I discovered that Airplane Mode has memory leak issues making it unplayable for some. It’s too bad, because, believe it or not, the prospect of sitting through a simulated, real-time multi-hour flight is exactly up my alley.

If this problem is fixed soon, I’ll post a new review. But for now, Airplane Mode doesn’t even get off the ground—literally—since it crashes before I can achieve lift off. As of today, the developers are aware of the issue, and are working towards a fix–I’ll update this review when appropriate.

 

Airplane Mode is available now on Steam.

 

 

 

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