Egg in the Air Desura Review

Back in the days of the Atari 2600 there was a game called Breakout. In that game you had to bounce a ball off of a paddle that you could only move left and right. It was like Pong only vertical and you had to break blocks to clear a level. Well Egg in the Air takes that same fun idea, turns it on its head and makes the object of the game to avoid hitting obstacles.

In this case of Egg in the Air, your ball is an egg and you are the bird that can move anywhere on the screen. You just click and hold the mouse button down to move the bird.  I’m sure the game was meant for a touch screen surface like a smart phone. The game window is stuck vertical and in my case I was playing it on a landscaped monitor with a mouse.

Every time the egg hits your bird it bounces up. At the apex of its height, it loses its fight against gravity and falls back down to you. Yes I just explained gravity, but I had compared it to Breakout and this egg doesn’t bounce off the top of your window. Once the level begins and the egg drops, the level then scrolls upward so you’ll fly past all sorts of things up to your nest where you’ll need to bounce the egg into the nest to complete the level.

You can bounce it off the sides of the window and even off of obstacles. For every obstacle that it hits, the egg loses health. Once its lost enough health a crack begins to form that gets larger and larger with each hit. If it breaks and you’ll need to restart the level all over again. If the egg falls off the screen, you lose, just like Breakout and Arkanoid. If you can’t bounce the egg into your nest within 60 seconds, its game over. You have unlimited continues, which I’m grateful for. I’d hate tot think that I’d make it to level 40 before I’d have to start all over again.

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The obstacles increase in difficulty, they go from simple tree branches to fluttering birds. Then they go up to biplanes and hot air balloons that move and take up a lot more of the screen. As the bird, you can fly through them all, its your egg that gets hurt. It would have been nice to see the biplane be a one hit loss, but this is an everyone sort of game. Its easy to play, so easy I dare say its a bit on the boring side, especially playing it on a computer. I think makes it a game geared toward children on a smart phone.

Along the way, there are several different power ups and power downs. There are cool things that will give your bird guns to shoot down other birds. Other things make your egg go through enemies. Still others will increase the size of your egg or decrease. You can even increase the size of your bird or decrease it all to add challenge. These items are all temporary and nothing really makes the game too difficult or easy. Some feel necessary, like wedging a small egg through a flock of unmoving birds. You’ll find red cross icons to replenish the egg’s health.

Even with all the power ups and obstacles, the game just felt so hollow. I think the levels could have gotten enhanced to make more of a variety so they feel different. I was happy when there was a speed boost item that made me think it was something fresh, but then after a brief second or two the speed ended and it was back to the same pace. Its because of this hollowness that the game felt longer than it needed to be and its maybe a 30+ minute game.

I think that star ratings would have been nice along with showing what level you’re on at the top. I just see no value in playing it again. A score system would have been nice too. Try to get your egg to the nest in less bounces than your previous play through.

The egg’s bounce feels imperfect, imprescise, but I guess it is bouncing an egg. A few times I’ve gotten the egg wedged between the bird wings and the edge of the screen. When the egg hits an object there’s no temporary invincibility, so your egg can get hit by an enemy, stuck in the enemy and go from full health to smashed in less than a second. There were even times where the egg fell from the sky like it does to start each level and gets destroyed before it even appears on screen. I can hear it taking damage and see the health dwindling, I just can’t see it. Maybe having the egg appear at the top of the screen instead of the top of the level would have helped preserve the egg.

The graphics, sound and music didn’t appeal to me. While I still appreciate the custom graphics and their cohesion, I just didn’t care for them. They could have been a lot worse, but I think if I enjoyed them more, that would have improved the experience for me.

Now for the dark side of the game. Every 5 or 10 levels, you’ll get shown an advertisement from the developer. What do they want? To plug their own free publishing service for developers to make money. I would have been happier if it was a real advertisement to the developer can make money and I can still play for free. It felt like this became the story of the game for me. These were the cut scenes that came between levels and ended with the climactic finale of having a link to the website. If there were less of these ads, I wouldn’t have minded so much. Egg in the Air just felt like an advertisement, because the game was so hollow.

With all that said, it would be a more engaging experience on a smart phone than a computer. Its just lacking in some areas and I’m sure that in time the developer will make better games. I’d be more supportive of a fresh developer stretching out their legs as  a game maker if it didn’t have the advertisements for how they can help you make money as an indie developer.

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