Don’t get us wrong – we love the work of EpiXR Games. There’s something to admire about their prodigious output, which is approaching a game every month, and they’ve managed to stretch their simple ‘fly slowly around a 3D space’ trademark over four franchises and counting. Aery, Life of Fly, Murder Diaries and now Paper Flight are all (pretty much) the same game, just with different main characters and a shift in tone. But whenever one flies into our office, ready to be reviewed, we stick up a hand and kick off our shoes for an ultra-relaxing couple of hours. 

But while we have a place in our heart for the games of EpiXR, boy would we like them to make a working game on day one. If it’s not broken achievements, it’s impassable levels, and a fix leisurely wafts in after a couple of weeks. 

We’d love to tell you that Paper Flight – Super Speed Dash is different, but, alas, it is not, and it’s found a novel way of being broken. Play it on an Xbox Series X|S and it is pitch black. Levels are gloomier than an episode of House of the Dragon, and you can see barely a few inches in front of the nose of your plane. Yet, play it on the lowly Xbox One – we had to dust ours off from the attic – and everything is crystal clear. 

paper flight super speed dash review 1

As it turns out, having scoured forums and looked at the Xbox’s own reviews for the game, it seems that EpiXR have not tested their game on the Series X|S. You have to disable all 4K and HDR settings on the Series X|S to play it, and, even then, it still has a muddy gloam. It’s so overburdened with visual effects like bloom, chromatic aberration and fish-eye lenses, that these things end up obscuring the game on better Xboxes.

We shouldn’t get too hung up on these things, we suppose, but it had us shaking our heads. Perhaps EpiXR should slow down the releases a bit and invest in some new kit. We’d happily buy a Life of Fly game that traveled through the inner workings of a Series X|S as a blatant fundraiser. 

All would have been forgiven if Paper Flight – Super Speed Dash was a worthy new franchise under the EpiXR umbrella. But, perhaps because we were still grumpy, we found it to be the runt of the litter. And not by small margins: this is a non-starter.

The general formula is the same as Aery, Life of Fly and Murder Diaries. You fly a paper plane, not too dissimilar to the flies and macaws that we’re used to, and you’re unleashed in 3D environments, where you have to collect a pre-defined number of objects, in this case devil balloons, to complete the level. 

But this is where things deviate from the norm. To move at speed in Paper Flight – Super Speed Dash, you have to pop coloured and glittering normal balloons that respawn almost as soon as you pass them. This fills up a bar, which you can then use to move faster. You will also need this extra speed to pop some devil balloons – larger, pointedly not glittering – which will stubbornly refuse to pop if your speed is too low. 

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Pop the devil balloons and a second wave of them will appear on the map, then a third. Complete the third wave, and the level will complete. Congratulations are offered, 100G blips onto the screen, and you move onto the next gallery, museum, basketball court or science-fiction hangar. 

None of these changes are for the better. In other EpiXR games, you can speed up on a whim. There’s no limitation to their use, so spotting a feather in the distance is fine because you’ll soon be rocketing through the air towards it. In Paper Flight – Super Speed Dash, the speed is throttled. You have a bar, and that bar means you must meander to pop generic balloons. Speed becomes a resource that you have to conserve, and that means rarely using it to get places; saving it, instead, for popping the devil balloons. The fun decreases and the infuriation increases. ‘Speed Dash’, this isn’t.

We’re not fooled by the waves of balloons, either. Aery and other games have a clear sell-by-date: you play them once, and it’s likely that you will never play them again. That likely annoys EpiXR, particularly when an Aery game only lasts a couple of hours. So, they’ve artificially prolonged Paper Flight – Super Speed Dash with a ‘waves’ system. You exhaust a level once, and then you have to do it again. And again. You’re scouring the same 3D space three times over, and it has diminishing returns. As much as we love flying among the bleachers of a basketball court three times in a row, it becomes tiresome.

These games have always felt a tad lackluster, but it’s been part of their charm. However, the cut corners are pretty sharp this time round. Levels are wholesale lifted out of previous games: a library is from Murder Diaries, a hotel is from Life of Fly. This isn’t new, of course, but there are very few new layouts here, and those new layouts aren’t exactly sprawling and interesting. They are boxy and boring, mainly because they have to be navigated at lower speeds and three times over. 

As a curious footnote, there is an art gallery in Paper Flight – Super Speed Dash which will get copyright lawyers salivating. For reasons that we can’t fathom, the artwork in the gallery seems to be stolen from a teenager’s search history. There’s an angry bird, Robb Stark from Game of Thrones, Davy Jones from Pirates of the Caribbean and plenty more. We suspect they’ll get removed about the same time that the Series X|S darkness is patched out. 

paper flight super speed dash review 3

We’re grumpy, but there’s a positive side to all of this of course. The music, while completely and utterly the same as the last Aery release, is as pleasing as always. And the first moments of a level, where you’re pootling around in the rafters of a new building, are satisfying and chilled. I’ve always associated EpiXR games with Sunday afternoons, and it’s no different here. The general lazy formula is a winning one, even if this iteration is the worst we’ve experienced.

Speed dash? Perhaps EpiXR Games should slow down. Paper Flight – Super Speed Dash feels like one game and one franchise too many, as their Aery formula is stretched so thin that it snaps and breaks. Paper Flight – Super Speed Dash is unplayable on an Xbox Series X|S, and you should wait for a fix unless you own an Xbox One. You’ll thank us later. 

But even on Xbox One, this is a tired rehash of an already worn formula, with changes made seemingly for the sake of it, and none of them – not a solitary one – for the better. Even EpiXR fans should approach warily – for fear of papercuts.

You can buy Paper Flight – Super Speed Dash from the Xbox Store

Don’t get us wrong - we love the work of EpiXR Games. There’s something to admire about their prodigious output, which is approaching a game every month, and they’ve managed to stretch their simple ‘fly slowly around a 3D space’ trademark over four franchises and counting. Aery, Life of Fly, Murder Diaries and now Paper Flight are all (pretty much) the same game, just with different main characters and a shift in tone. But whenever one flies into our office, ready to be reviewed, we stick up a hand and kick off our shoes for an ultra-relaxing couple of hours. …

Pros:

  • Still has the outline of an EpiXR game
  • Chilled soundtrack that is familiar but great

Cons:

  • Unplayable on Xbox Series X|S
  • Speed-up mechanic makes the game slower
  • Levels wholly lifted from previous games
  • Enemy waves prolong gameplay too much

Info:

  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Thunderful
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One
  • Version reviewed - Xbox One on Xbox Series X
  • Release date - 7 October 2022
  • Launch price from - £8.39
TXH Score

2.5/5

Pros:

  • Still has the outline of an EpiXR game
  • Chilled soundtrack that is familiar but great

Cons:

  • Unplayable on Xbox Series X|S
  • Speed-up mechanic makes the game slower
  • Levels wholly lifted from previous games
  • Enemy waves prolong gameplay too much

Info:

  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Thunderful
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One
  • Version reviewed - Xbox One on Xbox Series X
  • Release date - 7 October 2022
  • Launch price from - £8.39

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