So you want to be the fastest, toughest, meanest rauser pilot that ever soared through the skies, eh? Well, I got news for you, kiddo; the skies are a dangerous place, there are thousands of pilots up there ready to shoot you down, not to mention the battleships, submarines and cruisers in the sea that are vying for your blood. You are going to need one hell of an aircraft if you are going to have any chance of survival. And so began Luftrausers, the latest title to roll out of the Vlambeer hangar.
The game’s premise is simple, you fly your dinky little fighter plane through the skies, shooting down enemy fighters and sinking ships as you go. Levelling up awards unlockables in three distinct categories: weapons, chassis, and engine. Each unlock brings with it buffs and de-buffs such as an increased speed, but more difficulty turning your plane. Certain combinations of ship parts will work better than others and it is up to you to find out in a series of trial and error flights.
Interestingly, each ship part brings its own challenges. Equipping them will task you with objectives such as reaching a certain score, and destroying a number of ships without decelerating. This is where the meat of the game lies. You will spend all of your time trying to overcome these increasingly difficult objectives in return for experience points, levelling up, and more ship parts. Initially they are fun to complete, and the increasingly hectic skies and seas really spurred us on to continue playing. After 90 minutes, however, our tune had changed.
With 125 unique combinations, there is undeniable customisation on offer,but a lot of them just aren’t fun to use. Matters were made worse with the repetition of the same objectives appearing over and over again. There is very little variety to keep you hooked. You’ll fight the same handful of enemies over the same level, completing the same objectives.
Luftrausers is a pick up and play game, so we can understand some of its limitations. After all, it has to be approachable to lend itself to those quick bursts of play, but this is a console and PC game, not a mobile game! Incidentally, for a suspiciously mobile-looking game, it sports a bloated price tag. At £7.99 the value for money just isn’t there. Fez launches this week as triple cross-buy for around the same price, for crying out loud!
Thankfully, it’s not all doom and gloom for Luftrausers as there are a few things we genuinely love about it. For starters, its presentation is second to none, Vlambeer have really mastered the understated look. Things get even better with some of the unlockable filters – blue and pink are definitely a favourite here at CIG. We also can’t deny that it is a lot of fun to soar through the skies, dodging thousands of bullets – for a short time anyway. We just wish there was more variety to keep us engaged.
For a game such a long time in the making, it is difficult for us not to feel underwhelmed. With the exception of its presentation, Luftrausers disappoints across the board – an issue not helped in the slightest by its ridiculous price tag. While there is some fun to be had, boredom will set in much quicker than it should. If you absolutely must play this game, wait for a generous price cut.
Luftrausers is available to buy on Steam and PSN