Ratta Tatta Tatta Tatta: Altitude Demo

By John Walker on June 15th, 2009 at 9:30 am.

Space planes!

We’re smart people at RPS. We can spot when we’re being hoodwinked. And all credit to Nimbly Games for organising players of their game, Altitude, into emailing us to write about it. It worked. You can stop now.

Altitude is a multiplayer 2D plane combat game, as cartoony as you can get, letting players engage in online aerial battles that have more in common with a old side-scrolling shooter than with Crimson Skies.

Finding out what the game involves requires a little too much digging, but can eventually be found on their site here. But much better is to get hold of the demo and explore it for yourself.

The demo limits you to just two of the five available planes and just two of the six perks that expand your planes’ abilities, and while it doesn’t restrict your access to servers, nor stop you from levelling, you will eventually reach a level for which the new bonuses are unavailable. The idea being, should you decide to buy the full version ($20) you’ll automatically get access to all the stuff you’re qualified for.

If you have a go, I strongly recommend not judging it on the training levels. The bots are pisspoor, and do little other than spin on the spot, giving you a very negative impression of what appears to be a fun game. Plough through them as quickly as possible and get yourself onto a live server, and you’ll discover the small screens and limited options do indeed swell out to make for a fun time. Clearly there’s much to be gained for completing challenges within these games and levelling up. Once you’ve got yourself a better plane, and a better equipped plane, there’s more opportunity for entertaining tactics.

It is still a very restricted game – teeny levels and little more to it than flying in tight loops and throwing ammo everywhere. But this is certainly enough for a cute, distracting burst of play. The demo even comes with the level editor, letting you create your own arenas for battle. Give it a look, if just so they’ll stop emailing us.

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20 Comments »

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  1. Super Bladesman says:

    Mental note: must get members of Gameworld StJohn to email RPS ad infintum about Football Manager Live :D

  2. Catastrophe says:

    I distinctly remember an old game like this… maybe on the Amiga?

  3. James Hsieh says:

    I disagree sharply with the opinion that it’s a “restricted” game. The levels themselves are sized so you can memorize them fairly quickly, giving you the freedom to start planning your routes and discuss strategies with teammates for those Team-Based Demolition rounds fairly early on. Most other games require too much time to learn and this is just the right size for fun without taking away your entire evening. Of course, unless you choose to. Entirely worth the fun.

  4. James Hsieh says:

    @Catastrophe: Must be Jetstrike for DOS.

  5. mystic sika says:

    @Catastrophe

    There was a multitude of similar games on the amiga(pc as well) especially shareware ones.

    i spent many an hour with the keyboard split up between friends playing

  6. Wolfman says:

    BIP!

  7. funnelbc says:

    @ Catastrophe dogfight on Amiga ate a goodly chunk of my early teenage years. Will try this one out of love for dogfight.

  8. Machina says:

    Bip, yes, I was going to say that. Want a game, Wolfman?

  9. Malcolm says:

    Sopwith (1986!) is the earliest example I remember playing…

    http://dosgamesarchive.com/download/game/127

  10. VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    I remember Sopwith. One of its most interesting features was multiplayer: apparently it supported 8 players over a network, but no-one I knew had ever got it to work. It turns out that the game had been written to demo the company’s own proprietary networking products, and multiplayer only worked with their network.

    The author of the game, David L. Clark, released the source a few years back on his website: http://www.davidlclark.com/

  11. Ginger Yellow says:

    Ooh, this reminds me of a 2D dogfighting game on the BBC Micro. I loved that game.

  12. Hypocee says:

    I played Sopwith and have played Jetstrike, but the one that stands in my affection, and maybe the one Catastrophe’s thinking of, is Wings of Fury. You fly a carrier Hellcat in the Pacific theatre of WWII. I only discovered it seven or eight years ago through the magic of emulation, and it’s been set up posthaste on each machine I’ve built since – I play the Apple II version to relax, as it’s just challenging enough to punish you if you goof off and has enormously satisfying, chunky physical feedback. The DOS version is rather tough and a little twitchier/arcadier, not to mention more of a bear to get running, and the Amiga version is fast and ROCK BASTARD HARD – I think I’ve completed one mission ever before throwing up my hands and scampering back to my eight-colour Easy Mode. The AA guns fire like five times as fast, lock right on to you and nothing shakes them. Oh, and the GBC version’s OK. The physics and the change to a single jeep upset me, I think, but that’s probably a matter of imprinting.

    I recommend the game highly for those who haven’t tried it, especially the Apple version. It captures the feel of cinematic Crimson Skies-style warbird flight like nothing else I’ve seen in 2D. Tense carrier landings, deadly torpedo runs, treetop strafing, rocket plinking, zooming dogfights and carpet- and dive-bombing; there’s nothing like the feeling of accomplishment when you can rip off two rockets and hit two cruiser gun positions from the overview, or glide-bomb four barracks with four bombs while jinking, or deliberately catch the four-wire so you can get to the elevator just before your smoking engine blows. Two tips: 1. If you fly up above the screen, you get a zoomed-out view. 2. You have to press and hold the machine gun key while on the elevator to repair/rearm. That one took me a while my first session.

  13. Fat Zombie says:

    JETSTRIKE

    Dakkus Dakkus Et Blastium

    Loved that game. Had it for the Amiga, used to have it on DOSBOX but lost it. I loved that you could pit a WW1-era biplane against a Flanker (or dragon, if you were so inclined). This sounds good if it’s anything like that game.

  14. Chris says:

    “It is still a very restricted game – teeny levels and little more to it than flying in tight loops and throwing ammo everywhere.”

    Basketball is little more than throwing a ball into a hoop, neh? Think you’re really selling the game short. There’s a lot of nuance to the gameplay and all kinds of interesting plane interactions once you become an experienced pilot. I’ve been enjoying this game for months and continue to learn new aspects of play.

  15. Hypocee says:

    So the goal of Altitude is to spin and spray? Rather than, say, to shoot the other guys? Oh.

  16. Catastrophe says:

    Ooo these all ring a bell, damn my memory!

  17. IvanHoeHo says:

    Sweet, It’s like an aerial version of soldat! Will try after midterms.

  18. Poita says:

    I like the web site design. not much to it but i like clearly deliniated and solid, colourful icons and boxes etc with no clutter on the page.

  19. [TL]eth says:

    Wow I’m famous!

    Anyway the “little more than spinning in loops” etc, what? Then I wonder why some players have 50-3 kill/death ratios, while others struggle to achieve a 1-1 ratio :p

    This is an awesome game, and it has a lot more depth than this article gives it credit for. Give it a try :)

  20. Miss Gazer Beam says:

    I agree with [TL]eth. It IS a great game :p