Indian Air Force - A Cut Above brings to your smartphones the life and responsibilities of being in the elite Indian forces. It is an effort by the Air Force to appeal more to the youth of the nation, by giving a glimpse at the effort, perils and responsibilities of being a Wing Commander in the Indian Air Force. With 10 single-player missions, realistic renditions of the IAF’s arsenal and more, the game presents much more than what many initially expected. After a day into the release, here are our first thoughts about Indian Air Force - A Cut Above.
The first thing you notice about the game is that it looks mighty similar to a bunch of flight simulation games that you may have played before. In fact, this game is actually closely based on a game called ‘Guardians of the Sky’, by Indian developer Threye Interactive. However, instead of emphasising on aircraft-specific details and elaborate manual controls for flying, it focuses on the overall missions. This sets the premise from the onset, and differentiates it from any other flight simulation games available on iOS and Android.
You begin with three training levels, which take you through the take-off, air control, cameras, landing, weapons operation, target hitting, throttle control and landing operations, all of which would eventually be required for carrying out the 10 single player missions. While take-off and air control are fairly similar, you also need to account for manually retracting the landing gear and maintaining a steady air speed, in order to prevent air stalls and crashes. These small elements make the game feel rich, and surprisingly engaging.
Opening the standing short range gunfire is fairly standard procedure, and firing aerial rockets are even more simple. However, you need to ensure to maintain your throttle in order to keep within range of your aerial target. The tricky bit lie in firing the ground rockets, which are less precise than the aerial ones. Even the landing process is slightly tricky, but the markers initially assist you in terms of where the speeds need to be reduced. The difficulty increases significantly when you set it to ‘medium’, and even further at ‘hard’, which actually makes the game more engaging.
Once the training is completed, the first mission you undertake is as a pilot of the MI-17 V5 helicopter delivering life-saving supplies to calamity-hit areas, which essentially warms you up for what is to follow. Once you complete the mission, you are informed that the calamity-ridden area had also been hit by a terrorist attack, dousing you straight into the role of providing air support for the surgical strike. You command the Mirage 2000 jet, equipped with MICA short-range multi-target missile, the Griffin laser-guided missile, a 30mm auto-cannon, and the SPICE 2000 precision-guided bomb.
What’s truly impressive here is the level of attention paid to the graphics and the intensity of the weapons and the aircraft in the game, which make it a rather thrilling game to play. The controls are not fussy, the missions induce a strong sense of purpose, and you find yourself rooting to complete all the missions and get even more from it. The game also includes a free flight mode, which requires you to register with the game, albeit at no additional charges. The game also states that a multiplayer mode will be ‘coming’ soon, raising the prospect of aerial dogfights. In short, if the IAF wanted the game to showcase its life to the youth of the country, there possibly wasn’t a better way of doing so.
Getting the flight simulator format to combine with storyline-driven missions of protecting the nation’s borders is a genius idea, and IAF: A Cut Above completely achieves its objectives of giving an example of the Air Force life. To sum up our first look at the game, it is a very interesting start for the game. Having played for only a day, IAF - A Cut Above already feels like a solid effort, and even as a standalone game, makes for a pretty impressive one to play.