Learn to Fly – Adorable, penguin-centric launch game action with enhancements and upgrades to boot
The wonderful technique of alliteration makes it so that persistent penguins persistently proving the whole ‘flightless birds’ thing wrong make for a jolly jape of a time. Launch your penguin from an icy ramp and see how far you can travel through the air in Learn to Fly, earning money and upgrades to improve your performance as you do so.
Facts, Facts, Everywhere, and Not a Drop to Think
One thing that I’ve learnt from spending countless hours on all four corners of the internet is that you must take all of the information contained in, on, and around it with a pinch of salt. Actually, forget a pinch, you need barrels of seasoning if you’re going to survive the virtual world of shaky information, pseudo-facts, and arguments so flimsy that a rickety bridge from ACME providing passage over a gigantic cartoon canyon has more of a chance of holding up, and I’ve seen those cartoons: they always break. Our poor little penguin in Learn to Fly doesn’t really use this kind of caution whilst browsing the internet, however, and even though he reads on Kiwipedia that penguins are flightless birds (one of those substantiated facts on the internet that are so rare these days), he immediately leaves the house in a dramatic fashion in order to prove the internet wrong by launching himself off the edge of a small glacier with a perfectly-formed ramp and a variety of flight-assistance objects that allow him to delude himself into thinking that he can actually fly. Sure, that’ll teach the internet to contain the occasional fact.
A Launchy Affair
Flightless? I’ll show those facts who’s boss, says our penguin. Proving this indisputable fact wrong involves taking control of the penguin as he slides down a ramp and launches himself off the end, with the aim being to travel as far as possible. Use the left and right directional arrows to control the penguin’s orientation in the air. Careful manoeuvring of the penguin will allow him to travel further and achieve a greater total distance. You are awarded money for your efforts, as well as unlocking a variety of achievements for fulfilling certain criteria: this also rewards you with yet more money.
Earn to Glide
The main facet of the game that keeps the fun ticking over until you finally prove scientific facts wrong is the upgrade system, which lets you purchase a few enhancements to make your altitude-achieving mission a little easier and a lot more fun. You can purchase incremental upgrades to the height of your ramp, your acceleration, and the air resistance you encounter. Physical upgrades such as a glider and a rocket can also be purchase. The glider can be used to keep your flight going for a considerable amount of time, and the best part is that the physics of this glider are actually quite incredible: gaining and losing altitude feels as a real-life glider would, with the ability to fall a long way and bank upwards to catch the air and continue your “flight”. The rocket is controlled by pressing the spacebar and gives you a temporary boost as well. The upgrades are fairly basic and few in number but provide plenty of enhancements to your mission and serve their purpose well.
It saddens me a little that our penguin doesn’t realise that simulating flight isn’t the same as actually flying, but I am cheered up to a ridiculous degree when earning the next upgrade and gaining an extra bit of distance on my next launch. Learn to Fly’s graphics are fairly basic, though you can tell a little thought has gone into the design of the game as well as the attempt at a storyline or at least a justification of why we are launching this penguin into the air repeatedly. This one is an innovative game that laid the foundation for Light Bringer to produce the successful sequel, Learn to Fly 2.