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I was confused at what a Luftrauser is, heck I was having a hard time actually trying to spell the word in this review. What is a Luftrauser? Well after a solid 10 hours of playing this game – I still don’t even know what the word means.
Luftrausers is an indie game developed by Vlambeer which I also have trouble pronouncing. The 8-bit monotone looks exactly like the visuals pulled from the screens of the Nintendo GameBoy however I’m playing this on my computer rig capable of so much more. At the start, you could say the game-play also follows the same ‘basic’ principle just like the visuals but once you get thrown deeper into the world of Luftrausers, the more involving and deep the actual game is.
The intro of the game fits you with a basic fighter plane launching out from what I presume is a German submarine. Your task is simple, fly around and destroy as many enemies as possible. The mechanics are really simplistic like any shooter kinda element game you find on the App Store with different style of enemies coming at you. There’s enemy ships to sink, other enemy fighters, bigger planes and massive blimps hovering the skies. If it’s there, you shoot it.
Instead of relying on health points, Luftrausers utilises a regenerating health system (yes like the ones you find in modern shooters!) which forms a circle around your screen. The more damage, the smaller the circle becomes pulverizing you into a million bits in the skies. To regenerate, you basically have to stop shooting – which is a hard thing to do as the adrenalin takes over. Scoring works the on the basis of multipliers, the longer the killstreak, the higher the multiplier becomes until it reaches max.
“To regenerate, you basically have to stop shooting – which is a hard thing to do as the adrenalin takes over.”
We did mention the game is deeper and you’ll probably thinking how when the mechanics are as simple as it’s mentioned above. Well Luftrausers biggest card is the customisation and creation of your very own ship. As you progress in Luftrausers completing challenges – you will gain access to different modules or parts to build your own fighter plane. There’s different weapon unlocks like laser beams, multi-shot cannons and missiles that you select. The body and engine of the plane can also be modified with different styles of upgrades.
The idea of Luftrausers is to create your very own weapon and you’ll see yourself experimenting with different setups. Since I tend to hit the water all the time, I managed to build this ship that allows me to take a dive in the water without damaging my plane. Also I strapped laser weapons on so I can come out blasting ‘mah lazers’ – the customisations are endless fun and you’ll always go back to mix up the upgrades.
Luftrausers is a fun, addictive and easy to pick up game. The upgrades extend the otherwise simplistic nature of the title, bringing it more depth than it looks. The only downside of the title I could pick up is the auto-generating enemies which at some points became very stale – like there was no enemies spawning while at other times it becomes the most frantic thing ever. I know they’re trying to randomise the game but it should be done at a certain level where situations like the ‘no enemies for a minute’ become less frequent.
If you like to shoot things and waste time, Luftrausers is always ready to party.
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Platforms: PC, PS Vita, MAC, Linux and PlayStation 3