I already admitted to being a shameless fan of Blendo Games, creator of Gravity Bone and Flotilla. The newest release is called Air Forte, and it’s another brilliantly bizarre game, this time teaching multiplication tables, parts of speech, and geography.
Even if edutainment isn’t your thing, you should at least check out the demo — it’s available for PC/Mac OS X/Linux as well as the Xbox 360 in the Xbox Live Indie Games section. (And it’s only five bucks there, which made it a sight-unseen purchase for me). The graphic design is phenomenal as always, and I was a fan right from the title screen.
Air Forte takes some of the characters you run into in Flotilla and re-casts them as subjects of a kingdom whose multiples, words, and countries are being stolen. As the best pilot in the kingdom, you’ve got to take off and find the missing multiples while avoiding the mines. The story’s presented all in comic book format, set to a perfectly inappropriate surf guitar soundtrack.
As for the educational merit, I don’t have a kid present so I can’t comment one way or the other. (It was, however, an unwelcome reminder that I’ve forgotten all the multiplication tables). And I have to be a jerk and point out a couple of errors in the grammar sections — “smiling” can be a noun, and “lunch” can be a verb, for instance. But for me, the game wins on presentation alone, and I loved every second of it.
If you’re wondering about platforms, flying with the Xbox 360 controller is a lot easier than with the mouse.
I never would’ve expected that the follow-up to Flotilla would be an educational game, but that’s the consequence of dealing with an unrelentingly original game developer, I guess. At this rate, Blendo could release a game that’s nothing but quick-time events and I’d still be on board from day one.