Blimp HD is both a wonderful piece of gaming nostalgia and great new platformer that takes full advantage of the technology at its disposal. It’s both easy to pick up and play for a minute and totally satisfying to play for long stretches at a time.
On my first Gameboy, I loved games that put me in control of a vehicle and made you navigate through some complex series of massive mazelike obstacles. Add to it things that that shoot at you and a nice arsenal of weapons at your command and ten year old me was in imagination heaven. Ten year old me is happy again.
Blimp HD puts you in command of a blimp, as you might imagine. Each stage is set on a steam punk alien world where you transport workers and cargo from platform to platform in a fixed amount of time. There are time extensions, bonus crystals, and health boosts to be collected, and in later levels your blimp will be armed with bombs you drop onto your enemies below.
The real strategy comes in deciding how you’re going to organize your trips around the stage. It’s both a time management problem and strategic combat one with both elements giving each stage of the game significant replay value.
The controls are easy to learn and yet sensitive and difficult to master once you’ve got weaponry to deal with while keeping your blimp aloft with constant well-timed jets of hot air. What’s brilliant is that you can control the movement of the blimp with either the accelerometer or an on screen slider you can toggle on and off. I assumed the slider would be harder than just tilting my iPad but it turned out it works really well and saves me looking like a freak on the bus.
I frequently harp about the non-gaming aspects of games and in this case I’m happy to say that the developer has created a really nice package. Much like early Gameboy games, Blimp HD is not without a story, and a reasonably imaginative one, but also doesn’t make the story the main focus of the game. Blimp HD is all about gameplay and beautiful design.
Finally, this is not a game to play without headphones. The music is gorgeous and made me very badly want to break out Garage Band and pretend I could make cool music too. For the record…I can’t.
So, in a nutshell…
Gameplay: This is solid, very recognizable gameplay and that’s not a bad thing. I’d love to see more games that resurrect this style of imaginative play. Something about it just stirs my imagination and makes me want to keep playing.
Art: This is one of the truly beautiful games. Everything from the writing of the pre-level briefings to the sound effects and music makes this a top-notch experience. The stage design is lush and colorful, never becoming old or repetitive.
Replay Value: The story is fine, but what really hooks me is the gameplay and the fun of navigating your blimp around each gorgeous stage. The stages are so much fun I find myself just wanting to play one because it was fun, kind of like your favorite play set as a child.
No Connectedness: Pretty much, these days, anything that doesn’t in some way utilize Game Center is going to be knocked down a notch, even if it’s a miniscule notch as it is in this case. It’s really not necessary but would add even more fun with high scores and achievements. Yes, I’m one of those achievement loving people. You know who you are.
Blimp HD is a solid, professional, and top-tier game that I’d be thrilled to see on any handheld gaming platform. To find it on an iOS device is thrilling and speaks really well for the platform. You should get it ASAP.