Superflight’s developers are all too aware of the perceived shortfalls of their wingsuit simulator. In fact, the game’s Steam page lists everything it lacks. “This game doesn’t have,” it announces, “helicopters, guns, a soundtrack, a leveling system, a cinematic story, Twitch live integration or loot boxes.” To which we say – thank christ. Free from the trappings of most modern fare, then,
Superflight is a refreshingly minimalist, score-chasing flight sim that enthralls through an uncannily accurate recreation of the sensation of speed. Start a run, and you’re spawned into a procedurally generated chunk of sky, near huge rock formations. The rush of the fall is instant and pure, only the wind whipping around your blocky form offering the convincing illusion that you are indeed going very, very fast – no thumping electro required. Twitchy controls mean even tiny tilts see you sailing off in wide arcs, sometimes battling the breeze, while leaning forward slightly sends you hurtling downward even faster to stomach-flipping effect.
The quicker you plummet, the twitchier movement gets – and the closer you fly to rocks, the more points you rack up. Skimming over a surface has your score climb at a pleasant rate. Spot a gap or a cave, however, and a successful flight through will boost it by thousands. In the absence of levelling, progress comes from acclimatisation to purposefully fussy controls – and the bets you make with yourself upon seeing a particular set of metaphorical monkey bars in the rocky playgrounds, resetting levels until you manage to whizz through the fissure unscathed.
Once you’re off, the terse thrill of maintaining momentum for as long as possible kicks in. Combos continue if you keep scoring in quick succession. Here, audio cues come into their own: fly away from danger for a breather, and a cosmic cash register somewhere ka-chings as points are banked. Crash, and the wind in your ears disappears alongside a blink-inducing (and rather funny) crunch. End of combo.
And you’re back, dropping through clouds below or dipping through portals to spawn somewhere else in the hopes of an easier time, or more points potential, or simply a fresh view. Chaining together these changes of scenery is both tactical and vaguely narratively satisfying – the seamless, shifting journey of every flight dream you’ve ever had. It feels strangely personal, in that regard: an experience that, were we the streaming sort, we’d be reticent to share on Twitch.
All told, it’s a slight, essentially basic little game. We doubt it will begrudge us a score which takes that into consideration: indeed, its humble entry fee says plenty. But in a market of excess, of bombast and loot boxes – often, at the expense of actual fun – this joyous, remarkably accomplished expression of the ultimate fantasy provides some welcome relief.
Although perhaps not as striking as they could be, there are subtle weather effects and level furniture in Superflight’s levels: sprinklings of snow, or fluffy neon trees, that add signs of life to your lonely airborne sojourns