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Aces of the Luftwaffe PS4

Aces of the Luftwaffe

Fight waves of Axis planes and panzers until you hit the boss enemies.
  • US May 19, 2015
  • EU February 25, 2015
  • JP N/A
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Platform: PlayStation 4 icon

Developer: HandyGames
Publisher: HandyGames

Pew pew pew

Imagine if all it took was a single air plane to take down the Luftwaffe back in the day? So goes the story of Aces of the Luftwaffe, where you tear the skies open with your pixelated air crafts, ready to endure an endless grind towards victory and the downfall of the Germans.

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Aces of the Luftwaffe has taken the plunge from mobile and tilted the action horizontally, creating a side scrolling bullet hell shooter for the PS4. You start off in a nimble over-sensitive plane where you're tasked to take down a seemingly endless army of enemy fighters by shooting and triggering specials. Missions are slightly spiced up by tasking you with escort missions and bomb runs, and enemies in later stages take a trip to the twilight zone as they obtain UFO-like attributes and ditto bullet patterns. It plays fairly standard by constantly pushing you from left to right while giving you some vertical leeway for strategic purposes. After 3 missions you're up for the refreshingly harder boss fights which also pull in some challenge and sought after humor in this otherwise cartoon-ish display of war. To help you through your lonely endeavour you can pick up power-ups throughout the missions by shooting down a row of marked planes. These include wing-men, weapon upgrades and repairs that help lessen the burden of your cracked screen which is the effect used when taking a beating.

Hit and miss

Granted the game works and does what it intends, there is still a whole lot wrong with it. The most glaring mistake is not recognizing the fact that the game is on a console and not a mobile device anymore. The amount of grinding necessary to open new missions, air crafts and upgrades is painfully long and slow. None of the missions or boss battles are fun enough to warrant the excessive replay. With these mechanics intact the Vita would be a much better fit for this game. The decision to auto fire 100% at the time also removes any strategic momentum that could have been achieved by leaving the control to you. Additionally the lack of a score, combo or any kind of incentive to do well (except surviving) is completely missing. In the end you're just picking a position on the screen to put your plane and watch the slow action unfold knowing that you'll have to replay this part over and over again before you can move on.

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The verdict

Big or small, mobile or not, taking the plunge to a console requires a bit more attention than simply tilting the screen 90 degrees clockwise. Aces of the Luftwaffe quickly becomes a chore rather than something fun to play and with its grindy bit-sized pick-up-and-play nature would be more at home on the Vita.

Simple fun overshadowed by bad design decisions
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