Brazen Aviation: Air Control

By Adam Smith on May 6th, 2014 at 10:01 am.

Jazzpunk may have hit a few bum notes but that was probably inevitable given just how freely and energetically it riffed and jammed. Walking down a beach, you might find yourself unexpectedly lobbing pizza at unsuspecting turtles, and if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, a host of other pop culture references and geeky puns are scattered around the surf and the sand. Like the Zucker, Abrahams, Zucker films that it brought to mind, Jazzpunk threw everything at the wall, and smirked at the things that failed to stick as well as those that did. Air Control’s new Steam trailer (it’s already available on Desura) suggests that it might be the Airplane! of gaming meta comedy. It’s a flight simulator with zombies, knights and a jaunty soundtrack.

Cunningly, I’ve switched out the new Steam trailer for an earlier ‘gameplay’ trailer. The actual process of playing looks almost identical – on the ground, target burning or broken parts and click to fix them. Wandering through the cabin, I think the player basically has to tidy up to keep passengers happy. As a terrorist or air marshal, shoot at people while traversing the complex level design of a long metal tube. I’m not entirely sure that there’s any simulation of flight at all.

See the picture at the top, with the surgeons and the internal organs? They look like the same static models as the normal passengers and the objects littering the aisles appear to have the same functionality. I haven’t played it myself but early versions haven’t been kindly received on Desura and the game sounds like a poorly crafted simulator with some wacky reskins rather than a carefully crafted comedy.

Here’s how the game introduces itself on Steam:

Air Control is the most realistic plane simulator out there!

With this game, we give you more freedom and go further into the stages of how a flight is both prepared for and executed than any other flight simulator out there! We aren’t just covering the cockpit; we’re covering every single step of the process!

The first sentence isn’t true but perhaps the exclamation point means that we’re supposed to laugh at the lie? Reminds me a little of the page for Into The Dark: Ultimate Trash Edition which brags about the game’s apparent technical problems and abysmal voice acting. It’s a trashy B movie experience so it’s good that it’s bad!

Notice the punctuation.

It’s possible that Air Control has some clever tricks tucked between the miniature bottles of gin in its catering trolley but the Desura reviews don’t even recognise that it’s supposed to be funny. Either they’ve spectacularly missed the point or Air Control is attempting to make a virtue of its flaws by amping up the zaniness. It’s not a terrible business plan, I guess.

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42 Comments »

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  1. Armante says:

    Huh. I saw that and thought it might have been Frog Fractions 2. Silly me.

    Also, how the hell does garbage like this get Greenlit? Steam is filling up with junk.

    • Hahaha says:

      Because articles like this are promoting the crap, welcome to the age of paying for what used to be free browser games \o/ carry on helping with the downfall of our hobby bloggers.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ksempac says:

      Frog Fractions 2 (or something similar) is also what came to my mind. An elaborate joke with a few people in the know is the only legitimate reason i can think of to explain how this could pass Greenlight (which despite its fault, does filter a lot of trash). Of course, foul play is still an option…

      • Armante says:

        Unless this really is some sort of frog fractions 2 thing,RPSshould pull this article.

        Copyright violations aside, a quick read of the Steam forums shows this to be nothing more than a money grab or a scam. Come on RPS,we expect better than this from you :(

  2. Premium User Badge

    Bradamantium says:

    My experiences on either side of the break have never been more at odds. I thought this was something to look forward to, then I clicked through…This looks abysmal, like someone got bored in the early stages of making a flight sim, threw some guns into it, and said HA HA DEATHMATCHES ON AIRPLANES, HOW ZANY RIGHT?

    • Armante says:

      I watched the trailer on Steam (which is actually MUCH WORSE than this one) and was dumb struck on just how appallingly bad this is. Just endless back ‘n forth in badly drawn corridors with badly drawn seats and people.

      Just how does this get any coverage at all? :(
      How does it get on Steam?!

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        Steam long ago gave up any pretense of giving a shit about quality and digital curation. It’s nothing but an uppity version of Desura nowadays.

        OT, this game looks horrible and I’m saddened to see RPS promoting such low-quality schlock.

        • Armante says:

          Agreed. I just read the Desura reviews, and people are simply warning you to stay away because it is garbage. How this was Greenlit I’ll never know – surely not enough people voted for it? It’s just sad and bad.

      • robby5566 says:

        Well see, RPS could *either* go looking for a quality, gem-in-the-rough developer creating an incredible experience even without the fancy graphics and big budgets of AAA titles….
        …. orrrrr they could call the first piece of shit that lands on their lap “The Airplane! of meta gaming comedy”
        Yeah and Jeff Dunham is the Jim Henson of standup, *oh pleeeease*….

        • Premium User Badge

          Bradamantium says:

          Did you stop reading the article right there and detect none of the later-appearing snark? Because there’s plenty of snark.

  3. SirMonkeyWrench says:

    I can not discern any difference between this and the dozens of other products characterized only by the laziness and incompetence that was involved in their construction trying to get onto steam and distract us from things of value on a daily basis. I can not imagine any context in which this is news worthy.

    • robby5566 says:

      At least JazzPunk was, you know, stylized and different. It had a lot of “trying too hard” moments, but it was an enjoyable experience.
      But this, this just looks *bad*, really really awful. I don’t even know why it’s being given any attention. It’s the equivalent of that child in the back of the classroom trying too hard to be random.
      “What’s the square root of 54?”
      “TURTLE BOOGERS. AHAHAHAHHA I’M FUNNY AND LIKEABLE RIGHT EVERYONE?”
      Attention is absolutely the last thing this game should be getting.

      • Hahaha says:

        Aye jazzPunk was a working product with some effort put behind it….. this on the other hand

  4. soldant says:

    It looks like somebody’s first attempt at making something in Unity with free low-quality assets they’ve ripped off some 3d model repository site. In other words, it looks awful. I don’t care if it’s supposed to be funny, a blatant lack of effort is not something to be lauded.

    I actually think it’s a tad insulting that this is getting coverage – almost as insulting as the devs asking $10 for this rubbish.

  5. Hahaha says:

    Yay choice quotes

    “This looks kinda awesome, i’m not trolling. If the price is right i’m totally going to get this.”
    “Hey! I can buy whatever games i like on steam but if you must know I host a fortnightly gamers evening for my friends and we play all the crazy games we can find. This will probably feature at some point im sure. If it costs too much for a joke game when it comes out I’ll wait for a sale.”
    – eram (Steam community moderator)

    “Hey guys ! I want you to undestand that Air Control is not about realistic flight simulation !
    It is a “Just for fun” game !”
    – killjoy games (Dev)

    The description is a fucking joke and people support and advertise this crap….. chan culture (now reddit) needs to die

    “The issue is, the whole troll movement is somehow being accepted, despite how disgusting and lacking in standards this stupid internet culture has.”
    – Dave Bowman

    This Dave guy writes the truth

    Oh yeah then we have this crap

    Copyright Violation!
    http://steamcommunity.com/app/295810/discussions/0/540740501281480983/
    http://www.reddit.com/r/Steam/comments/24rfxt/another_steam_game_copyright_violation/

    Yay RPS you bloggers continue right on

    workaround edit for the auto moderation when you have three links

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      Nice catch on those links, the Reddit one is a good read.

      You know it’s got to be a terrible game when Steam mods are pimping it.

      • Hahaha says:

        The steam board for the game is amusing and the main people warning about the game on it seem to of been banned :\

        • Premium User Badge

          slerbal says:

          Classy move banning whistle blowers – though that seems to be the “done thing” in industry, so I guess it is not surprising that it is the same in Steam.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            It’s been a thing with Steam for a while now. Volunteer mods seem to be recruited based on how much they defend the service in the forums, and that behavior shifts over to the moderation process. Seeing as how there is almost no accountability for their actions on Valve’s part, it doesn’t surprise me at all that developers would be inspired to behave the same way.

          • iseemonkeys says:

            I did not even know you can be banned on a steam forum and it’s up to the game company until i got banned for some silly reason..I think that is poor on steam part. I left simple comment on some crappy tablet port game forum asking why it under new release when I saw it two months ago released and I quickly got banned, Which make me think was not a mistake that released it even though nothing changed.

  6. Premium User Badge

    slerbal says:

    Hmmm…. doing some of my own reasearch around this game confirms everything said by the folks above me in the comment thread about this game being highly dubious, possibly scamming and certainly ripping off the music from ProleteR :(

    I really think RPS should investigate the rise of scamming games (ok maybe it is not a rise yet, but it does feel like we are on the cusp of something…. ) – it is a good chance for some decent investigative journalism – WarZ/Survivor Stories: Infestation, Earth Year 2066 and others just highlighting how the abdications of any kind of content curating is a bad thing.

    I really don’t want Steam to end up like the monstrosities that are Google Play and the Apple AppStore: stuffed with clone games, free2play games which are not games, and worse.

    • Hahaha says:

      It does seem to be the way this hobby is headed :| and this article definitely has to be expanded on with an edit.

    • soldant says:

      This thing got Greenlit – it’s already too late!

      But seriously, Valve seem to want to move away from this by making things more open – if that happens and their gatekeeper role is diminished, we’re going to see more of this and then have to rely on the community to sort it out. The problem with that is that the community voted for this abomination, probably as a joke.

      • Hahaha says:

        I think it was in a groupees bundle while it was being greenlit as well :(

        • Premium User Badge

          slerbal says:

          That process of shoving some awful non-games/scam-games into the middle of a bundle has brought all my bundle purchasing to a screeching halt. I’m not necessarily havign a go at Groupees, as ultimately they are trying to give games exposure so that people make their own decisions, but it is too easy for a game to get greenlit by people who have never played it and probably don’t know anything about it just in the hope that they get a steam key.

          I say “people” but I am including myself in that group. I try not to, but I am 90% certain I have voted to greenlight games without properly checking them out, but then I am just a punter – that really is why we need some kind of proper content curation!

        • Premium User Badge

          RobF says:

          Well, it’s probably worth noting that this -wasn’t- greenlit. It went straight to Steam bypassing the process as most of the releases that people seem to pin on Greenlight being shart seem to do. It also wasn’t shoved into any old Groupees bundle, it was an individual spotlight deal ( http://groupees.com/spotlight3 ) and as part of a bundle put together by Killjoy Games (the dev behind the game) so no, it wasn’t slid in as a surprise or anything like that either.

          And honestly, I think it’s kinda OK to talk about shit games and give them airspace. Sometimes they turn out to be so shit they’re good, sometimes they turn out to be so shit they’re funny and sometimes they need a paragraph or two to tell people not to buy them because they look pretty shit because why not?

          Some game didn’t lose a chance at a post because RPS posted this one, y’know?

          I guess I can understand shouting at the game if you don’t like it but RPS for writing about it? I don’t get that at all.

    • Premium User Badge

      slerbal says:

      Is that a stock image, or is it just ripped from the Longreach aerospace site? I ask because everyone uses stock images and that is ok as long as they are paid for (if not necessarily very creative!) but if they are stealing other people’s work – as it appears with the ProleteR music – that would certainly be grounds to formally request its removal from Steam.

      • Hahaha says:

        I think it’s a stock, is also used on http://www.aerreach.com and is on a few wallpaper sites (not that, that means anything) and not creative at all. I think the evermotion model is more suspect but I don’t own the game so they might of just ripped the pic

        edit
        sent longreach an email

        • Premium User Badge

          slerbal says:

          Good to know, thanks for having a look. As you said, it is not very creative – the odd use of a stock image I can understand, but it appears as if everything is stock in that game – all just mashed together incoherently. Take the top picture in this article – what is a surgeon doing there?

          What a mess – but that said I am increasingly impressed by the investigative skills / will to know of the gaming community.

          Edit: I’d love to know what Longreach say to your email :)

  7. Vodka, Crisps, Plutonium says:

    My question is: can you lick those terrorists to death?

  8. bac9 says:

    The plane model is from Evermotion, every single weapon and pickup is just sample content from UFPS pack, all people are from Unity Asset Store and flight simulation looks to be from ready-made UnityFS pack. I don’t see a single piece of content done by developers themselves here. Honestly, a piece of trash like that could be assembled by half-competent developer with a few download links in a few days with time to spare.

    I’m not sure why is this getting any press at all.

  9. iseemonkeys says:

    Is it me or are the npc models sitting in the chairs from postal 2? They even cower the same way in postal 2.

  10. *Junon says:

    This game is legitimately terrible, uses several shamelessly stolen assets, and does not deserve to be promoted in any way.

    I also thought it was an elaborate piece of performance art until taking a marginally closer look at the Desura comments and threads in the Steam Community about it.

  11. Shooop says:

    This is going to be a future Saturday Crapshoot for Mr. Cobbett isn’t it? Poor guy.

  12. pleaseletmecomment says:

    “its supposed to be a joke so u missed the point lol dis is funny” – this article.
    Has anybody actually found a video game legitimately funny before? Does anybody sit there laughing at the screen while they play? Has anybody ever had a single genuine laugh from a game, and not just a quick exhale from the nose? I find it hard to believe anyones ever laughed their way through a game. I get this feeling people pretend “funny video games” are at least two hundred times funnier than they actually are.

    Also, who the fuck bought this or that Earth 2066 game? Are you dumb?

    • Premium User Badge

      AngelTear says:

      I found the Stanley Parable pretty funny. My father closed the door to my room because I was laughing too much and it was annoying him. Any Monkey Island game, I laughed a lot too. Oh, and Saints Row. And Portal 1 and 2.

      Other games, I may find funny, but only for a little while; not because of any shortcomings on their part, simply because they have the odd joke here and there but they’re not comedy in the first place. Still they’re genuine laughs.
      (Jonas Kyratzes games, The Longest Journey, Christine Love games, and many others)