The fight for Europe is done, and a commando group is formed going by the name Aces Of Luftwaffe. Their mission is striking back and invading the USA. It is your squadron’s job to fight back and protect Lady Liberty and the Stars and Stripes, this isn’t a job for anyone…
Did I manage to stack up to the task? Well, read on and find out if this game is a high flyer or if it struggles to get off the ground in this Aces Of The Luftwaffe: Squadron Review.
Developed and Published by Handy Games
Release Date: 24/07/2018
Available on: PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One – Reviewed on Xbox One.
Aces Of The Luftwaffe: Squadron basically blends two of my favourite genres and themes together; an old school top down arcade fighter with a World War setting… what could top that?
The storyline is easy to follow and is there right from the start, there is no confusion as to what you are doing and why. The menu is very bold and easy to follow and you can quickly get into the action. From the off, as with most top-down shooters, the action is there straight away and bullets are flying everywhere, it is slightly confusing at first as your shoot button isn’t the normal RT but the X button instead (on Xbox) so it takes a few seconds to adjust your mind to it.
In single player mode you control all the four characters, movement and attacking is quite easy as you are stuck together in your own area so when you move your character the others move and its the same for when you shoot, which can be handy as when you shoot there are four firing lines at once so you can defeat most of the enemies quickly.
Each character has their own personality and each with their own story, you have the main leader of the pack and the character that you take control of, Mark Taylor, whose family died of a poison attack of which Mark is still infected. Next up is the plucky heroine Melissa Monroe who suffers from acrophobia and she is trying to find her lost father. Next on the list we have John King who is the heroic war veteran who seems to have a lot of built up anger to let out, following them you have Steve Davis, the son of a rich hotel mogul who joined the army, who is constantly cracking jokes.
Each of the characters come with their own hindrances which can appear at any point in the game, remember Mark Taylor suffers from poisoning and will start feeling ill and you have to fly at a slower speed whilst avoiding enemies, Melissa will get scared due to her acrophobia and disappear leaving you a fighter short, John King will have an anger explosion and start flying erratically around the screen so you must avoid him or he will kill you, and finally you have Steve, who will at times fall asleep leaving him unable to fight… meaning you and the others must protect him until he wakes up again.
The battles are constant are a lot of fun and even as a single player you don’t get bored as there is always something going on on the screen, the voice acting is a lot of fun and helps with the storytelling, all the characters are constantly chatting and joking with each other back and forth and it really adds to the gameplay. Where the game comes into its own is on the multiplayer modes. Again, couch co-op comes into effect here and takes the gameplay up a notch. Aces Of The Luftwaffe: Squadron is perfect for this type of multiplayer as it is all about camaraderie and working together and I always feel that this type of game is better to be played when a friend is sitting next to you, what gaming is all about in my opinion. Onscreen when playing multiplayer it can get hectic and hairy at times as you have a lot more bullets flying to a lot more places this, however, can also mean you cover more ground, it is easy to tell who is who as you are surrounded by a coloured circle so there is never any confusion.
There is also a really good progression system and as you advance through the levels, you are able to level up your and your wingmen skill trees giving you better abilities. These are unlocked using medals you find out on the battlefield, also you are able to unlock bigger and better planes for you and your wingmen having as a result better firepower against the harder enemies and bosses. These planes are unlocked when fighting bosses and finding different loot crates.
There are 25 levels in total split into 5 main levels, the difficulty increases as you go higher up the levels, each main level has its own boss levels all ranging in difficulty you have many different zany characters to defeat including a Nazi UFO and the Terror Twins, all bosses are fun to fight although some are frustrating as hell its always a relief to see the level complete banner come up.
Graphics and Sound
HandyGames have gone for a cartoon type style with Aces of Luftwaffe and to be honest, it looks good and flows well, I am personally not a massive fan of cartoon or cell shaded games but the style of this has changed my opinion slightly. The screens are always full of action and bright colours and I never once saw a glitch or any other issues. The cutscenes are all gameplay or stills, these are all enjoyable and I didn’t skip a single one. The sounds of the game are great also, there is very little music throughout the gameplay, you can only hear it at the menus and at the end of levels, throughout the game there is constant chatter between your squadron this is altogether quite enjoyable and at times funny, and when the bosses pop up they too have their own voice acting style which is normally of a crazed villain and quite funny. Altogether, the sounds and graphics are a great blend and work well to make a good story and game.
What were my thoughts on Aces Of The Luftwaffe: Squadron? Well, in short, I absolutely loved it and can see me playing it for some time to come; with all the skill trees to upgrade and other side missions, there is plenty more gaming to have out of this one. Everything about the game works for me, with the blend of full on action and a tongue in cheek comedy style mixed with an immersive storyline, it all makes for one really good game and well worth paying the price tag (£11.99 in UK Xbox marketplace). I would highly recommend you getting this game even if you aren’t really into retro-style games since this title may actually convert you, believe me when I say this Aces Of The Luftwaffe: Squadron is probably one of my favourite games of 2018 so far.