Developer Vlambeer has teamed up with Publisher Devolver Digital to release an explosive 2D arcade style shooter, LUFTRAUSERS. Released on PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita and PC the game offers gamers customisable planes, plenty of missions and explosive aerial combat gameplay. However does LUFTRAUSERS deserve to take to the skies or should it be grounded before it can take off? Find out by reading on.
Instantly, players will find that the title offers simplistic controls that will enable even gaming novices to pick the game up and play. It pays homage to the style of game that LUFTRAUSERS draws from being an arcade shooter. Only four buttons are actually utilised and this can be decreased if an analogue stick is used. Players boost the plane forwards, angles itself left and right and fires. Games can easily try to do too much or attempt to reinvent the wheel when it comes to controls but thankfully Vlambeer have kept the controls simple as they work perfectly for navigating the plane about the screen.
The game sees players sit in the pilot’s seat of a kamikaze plane. One plane against all the enemy forces seen in the title is destined not to end well and eventually you will explode. Be it from crashing, being shot or even sinking players won’t find LUFTRAUSERS a long game. This does not mean that you will not be able to lose track of time while playing but the individual rounds are often over within a couple of minutes. This is where the title’s brilliant use of a ‘one more go’ policy comes into great effect.
The plane that gamers control are a source of this ‘one more go’ philosophy. Split into three components the plane is made up of a weapon, a hull and an engine. As you progress new components are unlocked offering new challenges and stats. The challenges range from destroying ten enemy planes by flying through them to destroying a battleship with a max combo. Presenting replay value as you attempt to complete challenges they also stand for adding entertainment in the form of tasks to attempt. Don’t let that ‘simple’ task beat you! I’m sure the next attempt you’ll easily beat it. Here you can see the predicament that sees gamers not be able to stop playing LUFTRAUSERS.
Through this component system you can upgrade your plane to suit your play style for attempting to set a high score. Do you explode too quickly or can you not speed away from enemies? There are hulls that give you more armor but less speed or engines that give more speed but less turning ability. A few while sounding good are mostly useless and basically are only going to be used until the challenges associated with it are complete. That being said the range is a nice addition with a selection being incredibly fun; who wouldn’t enjoy a melee plane that lets you fly through enemy planes?
As with a number of arcade titles, the difficulty is potentially a selling point and a game breaker. The difficulty swiftly ramps up. This comes in the form of additional enemies plus bigger enemies that pack an even greater punch. Filling the screen with shots makes it extremely hard to navigate around to survive let along destroy enemies to rack up a high score.
To match the feel of the title, the graphics are both simplistic and give an awesome retro look, sending gamers straight back into the arcade. It shows that a game doesn’t need ultra realistic explosions to be fun as the bit like visual experience is thoroughly enjoyable. The menu system is kept equally simple and fits the presentation style well. It is kept minimalist and accessing the options for plane customisation is consequently effortless.
Overall LUFTRAUSERS offers an entertaining experience that whilst may be infuriating, it gives you incentives to keep continuing. The ease of the controls, akin to old school arcade machines, means anyone can pick this title up and play. Rounds can last between 30 seconds and a few minutes and this maybe a selling point to some but also a huge negative for others. You are able to just play a few games, if you don’t have much time, but beware it is easy to say ‘just one more go’ over and over again. The customization will enable players to sink more hours into the game even though some seem available simply to add extra content into the game.
[Editor’s Note: Cloudbuilt was reviewed on the PC. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]LUFTRAUSERS Review,