Bring me my brown
By Bradley Lewis
Have you ever played a game that you have been horrible at playing, yet it was so much fun? This perfectly describes my experience with Luftrausers. This is a classic game with a modern twist. Luftrausers is your classic arcade game: you are a plane that flies around shooting other planes and ships, building up a combo to get high scores. You have a border on the top and bottom of the screen. On the top is a set of clouds that if you enter, you begin to take damage. The bottom is covered in water and if you enter it then you also take damage. The left and right portions of the screen allow you to fly in those directions as much as your heart desires from what I found. The control scheme for Luftrausers is very simple, you use the arrow keys and the X button, that is it. The issue that you discover in Luftrausers is that the difficulty factor ramps up quite rapidly. I would seem to be doing pretty well and then I found myself quickly overwhelmed by the hundreds of shells being fired at my little plane which quickly resulted in my plane bursting into flames every time.
When playing you take a lot of damage quite quickly at times, luckily there is one way to regenerate health. This is done by not firing your weapon. This leads to times when you simply run away and your cross your fingers and pray you regenerate enough health and dodge incoming projectiles to come back and fight. There is a hit and run tactic that you begin to utilize in some situations which leads to long fights just to destroy a battleship or blimp.
Graphics wise, it is a game that is pixelated and thats a good thing. Why is it a good thing you ask? Because it adds an arcade feel that this game perfects. It reminds me of my childhood and playing games such as Galaga or Asteroids. One of the features that stands out is that you can change the color scheme from the default brown, white, and black into very wacky and sometimes interesting array of colors like hot pink, to an inverted grey. It has a very classic arcade feel and it works great.
The modification of your plane is a key feature in the game that adds much variety to how you play as well as what your plane is good at doing. There are a total of three parts of your plane that you can modify. You can modify your weapon, body and engine. All three of which can result in new combinations that can lead to very interesting strategies. One of the engines allows you to go down into the water and not take damage, while another engine is propelling your plane by shooting a projectile out the rear. Some of the parts are not very useful, which makes for a frustrating combat sequence if you have the parts set on Random.
Replay-ability is quite good and it is necessary for a game such as this. Luftrausers is a game that I have found myself picking up every once in a while when I have 10 or so minutes and playing. You live through a couple planes and then move to whatever else you have to do. It does its job remarkably because it provides the thrill that you are seeking.
Overall, Luftrausers is an amazing game. It is not groundbreaking in any way, but what it does accomplish is done extremely well. It is solid in every aspect. The only downfall is that the difficulty factor is too great leading to much frustration, particularly on the part of the player that is trying to shoot down a blimp for the first time. Luftrausers gets a 9.0 out of 10.0 on Game Review Radio. it is available on PS3, PSVita, PC, Mac, and Linux.
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