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Publisher: Freeverse    Genre: Arcade
Min OS X: 10.1.5    CPU: G3 @ 500 MHz    RAM: 256 MB    Hard Disk: 200 MB

Airburst Extreme
November 9, 2004 | Ian Beck

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Most of the games that I play are ones that my PC using friends have already finished. It's just one of the facts of Mac gaming: we don't get original titles all that often. Instead we get ports of PC games months, sometimes years, after the game is first released.

However, this isn't always true. Every now and again a game comes out that is a Macintosh original (usually from the great crowd of Mac shareware developers), and I'm allowed the luxury of smirking at my friends while they get addicted to a game they can only play on my computer.

AirBurst Extreme, created by Strange Flavour and published by Freeverse, is one of these games. With its zany premise, intense single and multiplayer action, and gameplay that is truly addictive, AirBurst Extreme is a game that should appeal to all gamers with a pulse.

If you have never heard of AirBurst, then I'm not sure if you will be allowed into Mac gamer Heaven, but for those poor souls who don't what it's all about here's the quick and dirty synopsis:

You are a shiny alien athlete sitting on a large "floater" balloon 30,000 feet above ground. Up to three rings of balloons surround your floater, and you have a paddle that rotates the entire setup to deflect the flying burster, a nasty spiked ball that flies about the screen and pops balloons. If the burster hits your floater, you get a nice 30,000-foot fall to think about how you could have done better.

Add to this rather strange premise a slew of powerups, over 30 different game types, and ten characters with different "extreme powers" that can basically wreak havoc and you have AirBurst Extreme. In all honesty, the only way to really understand how cool AirBurst is is to play it, so I suggest that you try the demo if you haven't already. It is well worth the download.

AirBurst Extreme is, as the title suggests, mainly a remake of AirBurst, albeit one with a large amount of content added. Rather than rehash the basic game types and powerups, which are by and large the same as the original Airburst, I would rather discuss how AirBurst Extreme has changed from the original AirBurst (for info on the basic game types, etc. please see IMG's review of Airburst or the AirBurst Extreme website).

The most obvious change from AirBurst to AirBurst Extreme is that AirBurst Extreme has much more professional menus, loading screens, transitions, and interface graphics than the original AirBurst. A line of bubbles flows across the screen when the background changes, the cursor is followed by a fun little rotating light, and buttons and layout make it very easy to find what you need and look extremely good in the process.

The only place in which the interface is less than stellar is in the online GameSmith chat screen. The game matching service works, but it could be better and will hopefully be improved in future updates of both GameSmith and AirBurst Extreme.

Interface is hardly the main area of improvement, however. Instead, it mainly serves as an incredibly tasteful frame for the many other advancements of AirBurst Extreme.


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