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Luftrausers review

Seth Barton
18 Mar 2014
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
7
inc VAT

Balletic, seat-of-the-pants flying but this plane is too lightweight to justify the price of a seat

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When we first saw Luftrausers it reminded us of classic side-scrolling dogfighting games such Wings of Fury, however within seconds of playing you'll realise this is something far more frantic than that game or any of its ilk.

Your plane is launched from its carrier over an endless ocean, there's no ground, just a few background clouds, and a solid blanket of cumulus nimbus up high to prevent you climbing into the atmosphere. Controls are simple, turn left, turn right, boost and shoot. The handling is more akin to that of Thrust's little ship than an aerodynamic plane, but it requires none of the games painstaking precision.

Still images don't do Luftrausers any favours so here some gameplay ...

Instead you'll immediately be zooming about, looping-the-looping, spinning around in mid-flight and shooting along backwards while pumping bullets into pursuing enemies; this isn't realistic stuff, then, but more a smart new variant on twitchy twin-stick shooters. Enemies spawn thick-and fast, in fact so thick and so fast that you can barely take any notice of individual opponents. It's more a crowd-control dynamic, thinning out the big groups of fighters while occasionally taking on a bigger opponent such as a blimp or battleship.

Your plane is tough too, with a big health bar, represented by an encroaching transparent circle around your plane, so you don't need to take your eyes off the action. Your health regenerates almost instantly, but only when you're not shooting. Most of the strategy comes down to balancing your shooting and regeneration – you can even ram most opponents to destroy them when at full health.

... and here's some more daredevil aeronautic action

Your plane can be customised, with five different chassis, weapons and engines. You can swap out the basic plane then for a slower armoured version, with a high-speed, slow turn engine and a beam weapon; or try one that does extra ramming damage but regenerates slowly, with an engine that fires bullets out the rear when you boost.

Luftrausers

What little art there is looks great, here's the plane customisation screen

It's all good fun, but there's not much more to it. The game has 100 missions but each is really more of a challenge, destroy 10 planes, destroy 5 boats while undamaged, destroy a battleship etc. It feels great to control, but we'd preferred it if the chaos had been toned down a little, your plane was more fragile and you had to pick your way through a set of proper missions with designated ground targets to destroy.

In its current knockabout, naval-only, high-core chasing version it didn't do enough to hold our attention for long. For £7 it's not terrible value, and there's lots of potential here, but it's too lightweight to fully recommend.

Details

Price£7
Detailshttp://luftrausers.com
Rating***