I approach this review with no small measure of trepidation. The reason is thus: in years prior I used to have a recurring dream where I was pushed from a plane wearing a parachute which refused to open. I’d always wake up just before I hit the ground, but I’d be shaking with terror, bathed in sweat, and I’d find a mysterious bleating goat by my bedside. Ergo, any mention of parachutes makes me nervous, and the less said about goats the better.
Thankfully ‘Parashoot Stan’ (just an ‘s’ on the end of ‘Para’ away from sounding like a gruesome Youtube video) is a fantastic midair romp which has almost cured me of my fear of dropping from 30,000 feet with nothing to break my fall. You play as Captain Stanley Ottershaw, a war hero who has escaped the airship of the evil Baron Bully, and must now navigate the skies to freedom using only his trusty parachute. And a bunch of dogs. And other stuff, but mainly the parachute. Focus on the parachute.
The game takes the form of what can only be described as a ‘reverse vertical platformer cum endless dropping parachute game’. Or if you want to make some sort of sense, an upside down endless runner. You fall for as long as possible, trying to avoid both Baron Bully catching up to you, and his league of evil robots – the Nozzers – waiting to rip you from the sky.
Along the way, you can either free-fall to build up speed and race further away from the Baron, or deploy your chute to slow down your descent – useful for collecting power-ups and giving you more control to avoid the Nozzers. It’s a trade off though: the slower you travel, the more ground (or air) the Baron gains on you like a demented extreme sports enthusiast. As you fall, you can manoeuvre Stan to collect the obligatory coins which allow you to purchase power ups and costumes in the in-game store. Other enemy airships need to be avoided, but friendly airships dole out rewards such as health and Pals – hilarious coloured dogs which grant you special abilities. The first pup you collect, named Cash Paw, helps you defeat enemies by releasing toxic farts. I like this game.
You tilt to control, and tap to deploy. Unfortunately the game frequently requires you to be very accurate in order to succeed, and it’s often hard to do just that, as steering is completed in broad strokes rather than precise movements. Expect a fair bit of frustration as you miss out on precious swag due to over-steering.
On the plus side, this is a game with fantastic production values. Everything is presented in pristine and shiny detail; one of those titles where you almost don’t care how it plays because it looks so good. Never heard of a game like that? Well here it is buddy. The graphics are wonderful; full of impressive shading and detail with an intricate cartoon style and brilliant animation.
There is however a bit of an incongruous moment of when Stan meets his bloody end, literally getting cut in half by enemy robots with claret splattering the screen. It’s graphically impressive of course, but stands out as a little much for a game of this sort. I guess the developer’s name –Gory Details- must be taken seriously. The themed UI is also lovely to mess around with (if a little confusing at times) and has a range of subtle transition animations which convince you that a lot of love went into this here game.
Sound is no slouch either. The booming effects and humorous comments from Stan add polish on top of the already polished polish, and sound even better through headphones.
‘Parachute Stan’ is a quality package with impressive attention to detail. I wondered for a while which graphics engine was used to create such a smart looking title until the App Store description informed me of its name: ‘The Really Good Graphics System’. I certainly can’t argue with that. This is the best looking game I’ve seen all year. Who cares if it’s only the middle of January?