While the flight simulator genre has always been one of the better original concepts from the early days of PC gaming, there has been a recent resurgence, headlined by Microsoft Flight Simulator returning for a 2020 edition. While Lifeslide isn’t purely a flight simulator, it takes the control schemes and traversal from such titles and has the player controlling one of the most durable paper airplanes I’ve ever seen in my entire life. While the Zen-like experience features beautiful visuals and a soundtrack built for relaxation, the length of the game and shallow game mechanics make this more of a pleasant afternoon than something you’ll spend hours exploring.
While there isn’t a story to explain why this seemingly sentient paper plane is flying across the wilderness, Lifeslide leans into its arcade experience, with gameplay taking center stage. Using basic flight sim controls, you will manipulate your plane against the currents and around obstacles to continue your journey ever forward. From snowy regions to dense forests and more, you’ll be checking out diverse areas, but beyond a few abilities than allow for different speed boosts or access down alternate paths, you’re just flying forward while slightly adjusting direction.
Flight can be maintained by keeping from running into things, while also keeping a close eye on the timer ticking away. Gathering streams of yellow pixels adds to your time allowance, furthering forward progress, so prioritizing paths through each level will be based on your needs. The other collectibles available are blue pixel streams, which can be gathered and spent on upgrades for your paper airplane. Additionally, ability markers can be flown into which allow for speed boosts forwards and upwards, while other markers allow for access through doors or give airplane parts to unlock additional “models” of planes.
“…there just isn’t enough reason to come back to after the initial completion.”
Having such a rudimentary concept allows you to sit back and relax, which seems to be the point of the game alongside it’s purely Zen soundtrack but paired with the fact that the game can be completed in around an hour if you’re at all decent at flight sims, there just isn’t enough here to really make it a must-play title. While the PC version adds additional levels to fly through, alongside an endless Zen mode and multiplayer racing mode, there just isn’t enough reason to come back to after the initial completion.
Lifeslide really shines in its visuals, with low-poly, colorful environments that tell a story all their own. Soaring between giant trees or through ancient ruins makes for an enticing experience, only amplified by the aforementioned soundtrack. Swapping through areas happens very quickly, as the 20+ stages on offer take you through some of the most diverse environments you’ll find, but lacking any real challenge and keeping to simplicity makes this the walking simulator of flight sims. That isn’t meant to say that it’s bad, just that that’s more of the experience felt rather than dealing with complicated flight mechanics.
“Lifeslide tells a story without saying anything.”
Lifeslide tells a story without saying anything. Its beautifully crafted environments and Zen-like soundtrack keep you relaxed through the entire experience. Unfortunately, that experience is quite short, and the rudimentary mechanics keep the focus on the experience rather than challenging the player. A pleasant afternoon, but not something you’ll ultimately spend much time with.