As PlayStation 4 had its latest fix of aerial combat in Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown last month, it’s only fair that Nintendo Switch gets some dog fighting action of its own. Sky Gamblers – Afterburner by developers Atypical, is your chance to take to the skies and pilot some of the most fearsome jet aircraft. Okay, I may not know my F 16’s from my F 5’s but who’s gonna turn down something like this on the Switch?
Afterburner eases you in with a tutorial that gets you up to speed on how to control your aircraft. It’s a quick first step and explains everything you need to know. Using the twin sticks you’ll quickly feel at home nose diving, banking left and right and even mastering an engine stall. There’s three different difficulty modes and you can also personalise your air plane settings even further. It’s a very arcade setup. While the game caters for the serious player, it also looks after the more casual gamer too. You’ll also notice just how nice everything looks. Shimmery seas over distant blue cloudy skies all look impressive. Swooping down mountain sides, dodging skyscrapers, and soring skyward make your first few minutes promising ones.
Campaign mode gets you quickly into the action and rolls out a story that continues over 15 chapters. It’s your job to untangle the story by visiting carefully recreated cities like San Francisco and Rio de Janeiro. It’s a huge open world that sets up a fine backdrop to fight in. Each level lasts around 15 minutes and there’s a handy mid level save feature that makes Sky Gamblers – Afterburner perfect for short blasts on the go. While each level pretty much throws up the same action as the last, which is not a bad thing I might add, it’s made more interesting with the changing terrains each country offers and the continuing story line. Sky Gamblers comes with a decent sense of speed and toggling through the different cockpit views further adds more polish. Pilots can steer their aircraft using Joy-Con controllers, Pro Controller and Motion Controls. With the developers roots coming from mobile gaming, they’ve certainly upped their game.
Engaging in battles is what Sky Gamblers-Afterburner is all about and there’s huge opportunity to release all sorts of fire power. Homing missiles are always a good starting point, a quick snap sends multiple enemies into smithereens. Giving chase and manually targeting jet fighters that get away can lead to some fine cat and mouse action. Threats also come from the sea like aircraft carriers that lay like sitting ducks or submarines that temp you into daring manovers. Constant chatter from your flight team and some excellent sound effects add realism to Nintendo Switch’s first real jet dogfighting game.
Afterburner is big on upgrades and there’s a lot to spend your in-game credits on. Weapons, missiles, new jet fighters, and even paint jobs reward your sharp shooting skills. If you’re a big online player then that’s where you want to head, there’s a variety of single and multiplayer game modes ready to jump into. Team Deathmatch, Free For All, Defend the Base, Capture the Flag, Last Man Standing, and Survival bring further content to an already busy title.
Along with its fine look, excellent handling and meaty aerial dogfighting action, Sky Gamblers – Afterburner on Nintendo Switch delivers it all. Roger that.
Lizard Rating 8/10