Licentia Software is a one man team, and Above & Beyond is a great example of indie work done right. After receiving a hands-on build a month ago, the game has been greatly improved with bug fixes and slightly more polish. Honestly though, if you’re a fan of dogfighting games at all, Above & Beyond may be just right for you.
Graphics: Normally, I would think that water graphics on the iPhone are poor and very underwhelming, but Above & Beyond features some of the best water graphics on the iPhone along with a very sophisticated-looking ship. While I think that Metal Sun features better graphics, Above & Beyond looks really nice compared to other dogfighters. F.A.S.T. was a bit too grainy for me, but Above & Beyond’s graphics seem to be just right.
Customization: Customization of your ship is very extensive, including many different types of ships to chose from. Each ship has can be colored quite differently with the extensive amount of colors provided in the game. Customizing your gun is also possible by buying upgraded weaponry from the store. I found the customization to be very extensive with the changing of guns, color, and ship.
OpenFeint: OpenFeint is all about awards, and Above & Beyond seems to feature some very rewarding awards. Games that usually implement OpenFeint don’t have many achievements, and some feature none at all, but Above & Beyond’s achievements seem to be do-able and very rewarding. If you’re an OpenFeint fan at all, Above & Beyond should help you get the better edge when competing against others.
Repetitive: The conquest mode for this game started to become very repetitive, and while their are more gameplay modes to choose from, the conquest mode is usually the gameplay mode that everyone will choose. While it did take an hour or so to become repetitive, I think that the repetitiveness can be fixed by providing some better rewards to buy stronger weaponry.
User Interface: I thought the game looked slightly cluttered when it came to UI, and the button design wasn’t as polished as I would have liked. There are many buttons to chose from with tons of different options, but the user interface can be improved. For example, the menu design felt like the buttons were all over the place, and I can’t help but feel that the game isn’t very polished.
Above & Beyond is a solid dogfighter that’s perfect for hardcore and casual gamers alike. OpenFeint is well implemented into the game, and the graphics are more than I expected. While there are some design issues when it came to user interface, the $2.99 price tag is way too low for a game of this quality. The repetitiveness is also something you shouldn’t worry much about as it does take quite a while for you to start feeling bored.