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Review: Bad Altitude | Fast Familiar


JUMP TO: THE INFO | THE GALLERY | THE GUIDE | THE REVIEW





THE INFO

BAD ALTITUDE | FAST FAMILIAR


🗺️ Based In United Kingdom

⏲️ 60-90 Minutes ▪ 💪 N/A ▪ 🔢 Up To 6 Devices

📚 A puzzle game with a sense of humour, set aboard the world’s most underprepared airline. Help flight attendant Rhys as he wrangles over-demanding VIP passengers, escaped anxiety pets and his own luckless love life. Can you be his wingman? Work with your friends to solve puzzles, crack codes and avert death by discount airline. When you’re cruising at 30,000 feet, what could possibly go wrong? From the team behind National Elf Service (★★★★), Bad Altitude is a cross between an interactive audio drama and an online puzzle game - take your time and enjoy the in-flight entertainment! It’s designed for groups of 2-6 people to play together, from wherever they are. Remember – not all heroes wear capes. Some of them push the drinks trolley.





THE GALLERY

Bad Altitude | Fast Familiar





THE (QUICK) GUIDE

THIS, IN A NUTSHELL, IS...

▪ Classified As: Play At Home » Purely Online Digital Game

▪ An interactive comedy show led by audio acting, accompanied by colorful illustrations shown in slideshow fashion. Story follows a flight attendant's (Rhys's) day at work on a plane, assisting passengers for their various needs. Narrative would pause as Rhys and you attend to the passengers' requests (puzzle breaks), players then solve brainteasers to advance to the next scene. Themes and style are intentionally over-the-top, wacky, and more importantly, unapologetically gay, fabulous, and all-inclusive.


YOU'LL ENJOY THIS, IF...

▪ If you're a member of the LGBT+ community, or a fan of its comedies, such as Will & Grace, Glee, and Modern Family.

▪ If you're looking for something different--a well done, in-flight themed escape puzzle game is rare to come by!

▪ If you just want to sit back, relax, have a few laughs while occasionally solving some light puzzles in between.

▪ If you had fun with Fast Familiar's previous Christmas interactive story game title, National Elf Service.

▪ If you enjoy these similar/related options: Drag Task Force, Miss Jezebel Online, and The Witch's Forest.


SOUNDS GREAT, NOW WHAT?

📖 CONTINUE READING THE REVIEW BELOW!

🛒 WHEN YOU'RE READY... TO BUY, CLICK HERE!

💻 For game interface, use Chrome or Firefox while on a computer, or Chrome on a tablet. It does not work on Safari or Edge.

💻 To display puzzle clues, be sure to have a proper PDF file reader installed. Adobe Acrobat Reader will work.

🧐 Based on everything discussed below in the review, with my team of 1, the difficulty subjectively feels like a 3 to 4/10, (which may differ from the company's official rating). As such, I recommend a team up to 2 for the puzzles aspect, but the game can comfortably accommodate more for its show/entertainment value. An intimate group, up to 6, would be ideal.





THE (FULL) REVIEW

You're now flying on Ai Air | Fast Familiar



IMPRESSIONS


▪ With Bad Altitude's being Fast Familiar's second publication in the interactive story online game genre, (the first being National Elf Service,) a solid foundation has already been made for both the creators and returning customers. The game makers do not have to make a game interface from scratch, and I am going in knowing roughly what to expect. Win win.


▪ The essentially same, intuitive, easy to use, and multifunctional game dashboard returns. It's been rethemed to look like an aircraft control panel to fit the airline narrative, but all the important components stay put: Main display for visuals (for both the audio drama and for puzzles), a group chat window to communicate with your team and to receive messages from in-game characters, a text recap section of all audible lines for the hearing-impaired, a files section, and a solution input area. Beautiful.


▪I am a HUGE fan of the art direction. Whereas the previous game reserved a bit of cartoon-like element to its character design, Altitude goes for a semi-photographic-realistic, crossed with pop-art portrayal. The coloring uses a solid, one-color per area style with minimal shading, which renders the image even more striking. The end result is aesthetically pleasing and attention grabbing--and it finally hits me, this resembles closely to Archer, an animation I've come to love over the years! This explains why I love this so much! (Those who enjoy the sight of beautiful men will also be in for quite a treat.)


▪ The voice acting is decent across the board, and it's pleasant to see (or rather, hear) some of the same, recognizable talents return. Fun factoid: Rhys is voiced by and designed after actor Delme Thomas, another similar design treatment found in Archer!



THEMING


▪ There isn't many in-flight themed escape or puzzle game that doesn't involve imminent danger of sort (for example, murder on a plane, bomb on a plane, snakes on a plane), so the idea of assisting an airplane crew from the ground is refreshing and fun.


▪ I absolutely enjoy how much Bad Altitude embraces its ridiculousness to start to finish. I expected to help a series of hard-to-please air travelers given the premise, but little did I suspect that the comedy starts with the very airline that just hired me. The Ai Airline boasts about its state-of-the-art, fully automated artificial intelligence support team that backs up its on-flight crews, but let's just say, they have good reasons to bring you onboard. This is both a plausible yet still positively ludicrous game objective, and I am here for it! It sets the tone just right for the zany antics soon to follow.


▪ Due to having played National Elf Service already, I did inaccurately expect the story portion of Altitude to follow a similar suit. Elf has a more a familiar story structure. There is a clear conflict, escalation, climax, and resolution, and it felt like a Christmas TV movie special. Altitude, on the other hand, feels like a handful of individual scenes stitched together with one common denominator of flight attendant Rhys. So, this lands more like a hybrid between sitcom and SNL skits. This isn't necessarily less coherent, per se, but do expect each guest scenario to be more self-contained and less interconnected--but funny all the same.


▪ This game is designed for teens and up, (as opposed to children,) the writers have much more creative freedom to cover subject matters and themes inaccessible prior. Having our protagonist be an openly gay cabin crew member is not only beyond realistic (or so I've heard first hand), it also brings forth opportunities for chuckles and smirks-inducing moments, like awkward romantic tensions and exchanges, a cameo from the queen herself (It's Britney, b*tch!), and of course, rainbow parachutes.


▪ The humor never stops! 2020 is the year of the Karens, so of course the Karen farce made the cut. And you'll know it when she makes her appearance. It'll be impossible to miss. Way to be topical, Fast Familiar! Love it, guys.



PUZZLES


▪ The puzzles are presented in the exact same way as the previous game: they will be given in between story portions, and they are mostly formatted as PDF files. The puzzles themselves are not interactive with the web interface. You will read the information given, solve the puzzle with pen and paper (most likely), and verify the solution at the answer input field.


▪ There is a good variety of puzzles offered and while I think they've gotten easier compared to the last title's, they are also more enjoyable. Some of the same concepts reappear, and some are new ideas: math problem (which I loved, for I can do algebra aptly still), elimination through reading comprehension and logic, a little bit of microphone action (not karaoke this time), and deciphering encrypted messages. One standout involves taking a virtual tour on a real-life museum website to extract information to report back to Rhys, blurring the line of gaming fantasy and the real world.


▪ All the more labor-intensive puzzles from Elf Service have been axed in favor of more straightforward and beginners-friendly choices. Though a few puzzles do involve tricky details (and they are indeed good ones!) that may catch a puzzler off-guard, none should present a true problem regardless of past experience. (But seriously, who puts up a Post-it note side way?!)


▪ The puzzles come in between scenes and therefore are strictly linear. However, there is an improved, built-in clue system which you can opt to reveal 3 clues total, one at a time. If you still can't conquer the challenge, there is also an option to skip the problem altogether, so you can go on with the show. (I would prefer to have the answer key available as well like in the previous game, so the patrons have option to "work backwards" should they choose to, instead of outright giving up.)



Depicted: a cipher-based puzzle among other things... Gulp | Fast Familiar



OTHER CONSIDERATIONS


▪ Fast Familiar continues to champion in representation and inclusivity, as the main cast features people from various background, culture, and sexual orientation. The main character, Rhys, is homosexual and his attraction to men presented ordinarily like so. The continual normalization of minority (as defined by mainstream media) will make consumers who relate very happy--I know I am. This is the first escape game I've played with a gay protagonist, and I sure hope it isn't the last!


▪ There is a slight tendency for the writers to overdramatize or go overboard with certain stereotypical characterization. Most are done for comedic purpose, and none comes across as offensive. However, as a gay man myself, I do feel as though Rhys is a bit too one-dimensionally boy-crazy and therefore made him more of a caricature. Nonetheless, one may argue 1) the same can be said for Jack McFarland, and he's got a solid fanbase, and 2) this could be closer to reality than I realize, perhaps?


▪ It costs £20 to purchase the game, so depending on how many is available in your group to chip in, the ticket price could range from reasonable to a true bargain. If you split the cost at least 3 ways, you'll get a value both very well justified and well spent.



OVERALL: 😃


▪ Bad Altitude is lighthearted, never takes itself too seriously, and makes a great choice for a slightly-buzzed game night for those of legal drinking age. The rom-com element (and the one perfectly chiseled torso, you know the one, don't lie) will certainly prove to be a hit among the gals and the gays. As for the rest of you, if you enjoy laughing with a side of brain exercise, go for it. Join the (*ahem*) club with Ai Air.





Signing off,

ESCAPE MATTSTER

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Full disclosure: complimentary game access was generously provided for review or testing purposes. All media are sourced from and credited to rightful owners. No copyright infringement intended. In certain cases, media materials are made available under fair use doctrine of copyright law. FFAltitude.