Airburst Extreme is the second Mac-based game to share the Airburst title, and was released in 2004. It brings a story mode, 10 characters, 32 game modes, new power-ups (including individual extreme powers) and openGL graphics to the series. Up to four players can compete together as shiny, disproportionate alien athletes in a universe of unique, arcade-style chaos.
Airburst may be best described as a variation on Warlords
, wherein players must divert a "deadly chainsaw-bladed burster ball" with a paddle of hardened balloons (called a bat) towards other players' platforms. Every player sits atop a central "Floater" balloon surrounded by up to three rings of smaller balloons (which pop when struck by the burster ball). If a player's Floater balloon is struck by a burster ball, they lose. The player's platforms are free floating and can be knocked about by the burster balls and other players. There are also a host of power-ups that perpetuate the hectic gameplay.
Set in a futuristic solar system, the story goes that Airburst, traditionally played at 30,000 feet above ground, has become the sport of choice, and winning games on a planet yields fare for the player's next interplanetary journey. Over the course of the story mode the characters investigate many puzzling mysteries including that of an alien invasion, Mars Media Megacorp's dark dealings, time travel and more. Between space travel and Airburst games, the characters facilitate the story with simple animated dialogues of british dialect, slang and humour.
The game features 32 game modes in total, ranging from original levels to asteroids to space invaders to boss battles. The most notable being:
- Deathmatch: More players and only a single ring of balloons to defend you. Who can survive the longest?
- Football: First to 10 goals wins! You can shoot down the other team members too, but you can only score by putting the football into your opponent’s goal.
- Racing: Race your ﬂoaters around a track rather than trying to burst each other out of the sky!
- Sumo: Push your opponent into the deadly mines!
Players may choose to customize any of their available characters' balloon platforms at any time. There are an enormous number of unlockable balloon choices, skins, themes and support for custom art.
A new feature in the series, extreme powers are unique abilities of each character which can have devastating effects on their competitors within the game. The power may be used whenever a player has charged the ability, by whalloping the burster with their bat a certain number of times. The effects of the extreme powers persist for a short time, except those of Flux and the chainsaw wielding robot character.
(and their extreme powers)
- BCM - Damage: burster passes through other players' bats freely
- Flux - Repair: instantly heals a number of balloons
- Maya - Confusion: mixes up other players' controls
- Moon - Shield: extends bat 360° around player, granting full protection
- Inku - Hide: burster cannot harm player's balloons
- Veng - Shockwave: creates many swerving bursters
- Jera - Laser: cuts a horizontal and vertical swathe of other players' balloons
- Pook - Antigravity: bursters swerve away from player
- Robots - Spikes: creates nearly permanent chainsaws on the player's third ring of balloons
- Gravity: bursters swerve toward randomly chosen player