Buckle up and take aim. Great Britain demands your heroic and daring aerial feats to defeat the dastardly Luftwaffe. German developers Handy Games bring their mobile budget bullet hell shooter Aces of the Luftwaffe to PlayStation 4. More than just bratwurst and sauerkraut?
Aces of the Luftwaffe has a simple premise: shoot down swarms of enemy (German) war planes, avoid their aerial attacks and stay alive for as long as possible. A scrolling screen constantly pushes you from left to right with the added option of extra air space both above and below to plummet into. Piloting a World War II plane successfully is all about fine manoeuvrability. Your first terrified gasp (of many) will be the result of how quickly this aircraft moves. Subtle this game isn’t. There’s no slowly gliding gracefully into battle and picking off the opposition one by one as the orchestra perform their climactic crescendo. It’s more a case of sudden and fast jerky movements that catapult you from side to side like you’re in a bobsleigh. Slight touches on the stick can slow down your courageous moves but you’ll find this of little use. The game does offer two more planes to unlock which thankfully display different handling characteristics.
Unfortunately Aces of the Luftwaffe takes away the fun aspect of firing and releasing hell. Steady streams of firepower that continuously rain out from your aircraft will bombard the oncoming planes gliding in by their hundreds. Hectic? That’s an understatement. The screen is awash with bullets and the onslaught of the German Luftwaffe. The Germans will still get you; it’s just a matter of time. There’s nowhere to hide so your main aim is to minimise damage. Thankfully repair kits that fix your smouldering plane line the route and repair the fancy cracked TV screen that’s telling you you’re nearly toast.
Aces of the Luftwaffe looks like a mobile game, with bland and bold pixelated graphics that have bypassed any upgrading or spit and shine that PlayStation 4 could have bestowed. Another minus is that the game requires some heavy grinding and, along with such a plain look, these are major downfalls.
Shooting down aircraft earns you medals which can be spent on enhancing your aircraft and opening up new levels. You will need to repeat and re-play the games five chapters again and again simply to bag more medals. Breaking this chore up, Aces of the Luftwaffe has some punishing end of level boss battles. Luckily these battles offer a different dynamic and present a decent challenge to get stuck into. There are also added missions where you simply need to defend or attack a certain building or stronghold, but you’ll probably complete these without even knowing. Don’t worry, Aces of the Luftwaffe is a very uncomplicated ride.This could easily have been a PS1 release back in the day. I’m surprised this is not offered as a PS Vita release as this would have been an ideal pick-up-and-play on-the-go shooter.
Cheap and just about cheerful, Aces of the Luftwaffe is a mediocre shooter that sadly requires too much grinding. A serious lack of variety fails to keep you airborne for very long. On the brighter and more optimistic side, it’s a budget release that might give the less than hardcore gamer something to play.