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Mobile - Aces of the Luftwaffe Review

#1
Aces of the Luftwaffe Review

There comes a time when even the most diehard of armchair Generals feels the urge to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in. On such occasions, there is no better way to get the juices flowing than a good old-fashioned shoot-em-up. The original Aces of the Luftwaffe was released some seven years ago and flew under the radar without so much as a murmur.

Now, those dastardly German flying aces are back and this time they have their eyes set on a juicy Big Apple. Yes, the Luftwaffe is about to embark on an audacious invasion of the USA –“Not nice people,” as the president may exclaim. Only the plucky pilots of the allied squadron stand in their way. However, every story has two sides and this extended edition includes a second campaign that allows you to play as the German Nebelgeschwader, or fog squadron, who from their base within the Bermuda Triangle, embark on their very own secret mission. Both campaigns are suitably madcap, with elements of old war films and sci-fi, complete with giant Nazi flying saucers and steampunk-style flying trains. Don’t be surprised if you see ghosts and mutant crows also entering the fray.

aces of the luftwaffe mobile gameplay

With the bewildering lack of support for physical controllers, the big issue is always going to be how well the touch controls work. There are two different control schemes to choose from. The default allows you to drag your finger around the screen to guide your squadron, whilst the alternative uses a floating joystick. A set of fixed buttons, which can be positioned on the left or right side of the screen, control your guns and power-ups. Auto-fire is engaged by simply holding the fire button down. Neither method is going to replace the responsiveness of a proper controller and both take some getting used to, but they work as well as can be expected.

Thankfully, the difficulty has been tailored accordingly, the action is rather slow-paced and the number of enemies and bullets on screen never reaches the crazy levels of more hardcore shooters. The leisurely speed also helps combat the unusual screen aspect. It feels strange for a mobile vertically-scrolling arcade game to adapt a landscape view rather than the much more traditional portrait aspect. This odd choice means that you have less time to react to enemy attack. On the plus side, your plane can take a considerable amount of damage, represented rather neatly by bullet holes and cracks appearing on the screen. You have a final ace (or four) up your sleeve in the guise of support from your wingmen, because, instead of controlling a single plane, you control a squadron of four.

aces of the luftwaffe mobile skill tree

Your pilots will earn medals and eventually they will be in a position to learn new skills. They each have a unique skill tree of new abilities, which tend to specialise in a particular field. For instance, Malissa Munro and her German counterpart Robert Schulz are particularly good at defence and repair. Your wingmen are in constant radio contact, sometimes you may wish they weren’t since their corny comments (even the allies seem to have dodgy German accents) do begin to grate.

Anyone who has ever played Starfox will know what to expect but they can prove useful, warning you of imminent attack and their state of mind. This matters because each of the eight pilots (four for each campaign) have their own hang-ups. John King is prone to fits of rage, causing him to storm off into battle alone, attacking both friends and foe with impunity. Conversely, Melissa often has to skip out of the action because she suffers from acrophobia, yes, a pilot scared of heights, that’s as ridiculous as a certain German dictator being afraid of cats.

aces of the luftwaffe mobile boss battle

At times, Aces of the Luftwaffe feels supremely satisfying. Especially when your newly earned skills kick in and enemy planes spin out of control, billowing smoke as they plummet earthwards. Things become even more chaotic when you collect supply crates that contain the likes of rotating lasers, sonic waves and Big Bad Bullets™, along with a range of other upgrades. When the screen gets very busy there is a little slowdown but nothing too drastic. The music is rousing, the sound effects exciting and the missions are quite varied. One moment you will be blowing up key targets, the next stealthily avoiding searchlights. Each assignment also has a separate side mission that adds some replayability and there is a diverse assortment of twelve end-of-level baddies that require attention.

It is when you encounter these boss battles that the touch controls really begin to creak under the strain. The impreciseness of manoeuvring around the screen begins to seriously hamper progress and send blood-pressure soaring. Thumbs slip off fire buttons and fingers obscure your view of the action. If your trigger finger has seen better days, then I’m afraid that the only option is to revisit earlier levels to gain more experience to spend on skills.

aces of the luftwaffe night time

With a total of 50 levels to battle through, the amount of content is hard to argue with. It is just a pity that the additional Nebelgeschwader campaign doesn’t introduce anything significantly new. It is fun to play through the game from a different perspective but, ultimately, both campaigns feel disappointingly similar. The PC version had a crazy four-player co-op mode that unquestionably turned up the fun quota. Here, you are forced to rely on your computer-controlled wingmen. Wingmen can be given limited commands to determine their thresholds for triggering special powers and the effort has been made to instil each pilot with their own personality. Unfortunately, it is never going to capture the feeling of playing with real people.

Aces of the Luftwaffe is an admirable attempt to offer more than your standard arcade shooter. It is a game that doesn’t take itself seriously, with a pulpy storyline and over the top characters. Nevertheless, the upgradable skill trees and squadron-based gameplay ensures that there is a serious challenge lurking beneath the light-hearted exterior.



https://www.sickgaming.net/blog/2020/03/...fe-review/
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