Paper Pilot: Polished Graphics Still Stuck in Choppy Winds


paper pilot iphonePaper Pilot - Paper airplanes have a special place in my heart. In grade school with some of my best buddies, making a variety of paper planes decked out using crayons was something we did for fun. We didn’t particularly care for flying them because we couldn’t make them aerodynamic enough to fly, but it was fun to compare creations and keep ourselves entertained.

With that little preamble of sorts to give you context, I was very eager to check out Clever Coding’s Paper Pilot. The game is all flying around white paper planes in four different 3D environments to collect a designated amount of paper clips. Ranks are given for each flight run based on when the environment is completed. New levels open up upon successfully completing objectives on open levels. Pretty simple stuff.

Flying around is easy enough in Paper Pilot. Tilting and swaying the iPhone controls the pitch and yaw of the plane. Swiping up or down on your horizontally oriented iPhone adjusts the speed of the plane. The use of the accelerometer for this provides a good sensation of flying around in space that feels good. Sadly the control scheme is rudely interrupted by an issue that ultimately proves to make the game nearly unplayable.

Paper Pilot’s frame rate fluctuates all over the place and it’s madly frustrating. In a game where the controls are completely based on the accelerometer and success depends on how fast a level can be completed, an unstable frame rate can virtually be considered a game killer.

Though the frame rate jumps all over, it especially chugs when making turns in the different environments. Imagine setting up your plane for the perfect turn with a gradual tilt of your phone, then all of a sudden; the game hitches for a couple milliseconds throwing off your angle and essentially ending your attempt at a great time. Now imagine this scenario being repeated level after level, and hopefully you get the gist of why it’s a big problem.

Outside of the actual game play, Paper Pilot has a good layer of polish on it. The menus are clean and easy to navigate which is always great. The sound has a peppy and upbeat feel that works for me. Clever Coding’s graphics engine powering Paper Pilot has a shot to be really good. If you’re looking at screens in the game, you’d be impressed with the 3D modeling in the environments. The problem crops up when Paper Pilot is in motion. Here’s hoping an update in coming down the pipe soon as a graphics fix can help smooth out the actual game play.

Paper Pilot seems like a work in progress. I would have loved to see some multiplayer action as this game seems ripe for it. In addition, a few more environments would be welcome to add some replay value.

In it’s current state, Paper Pilot looks good but it's frame rate seriously impairs game play. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for updates, but in the mean time it is hard to recommend Paper Pilot.


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  • Brandon

    Developer Here,

    We are working on the framerate issue. It seems like its especially choppy on 1st Gen iPhones and Touches. Look for an update soon. We're also working on some other great features such as two player dogfighting (over Wifi and internet) and increased gameplay. Any suggestions are welcome at Thanks!

  • Shawn Leonard

    That's great to hear Brandon. Feel free to drop another comment once you've updated the application, and I'll be happy to write an addendum reflecting the changes.