Welcome back. Today we’re covering Luftrausers, by Vlambeer and Devolver Digital, released in March of 2014.
Luftrausers is a game about flying prototype aircraft against increasing numbers of enemies in an attempt to get as high a score as possible. As you play, you will complete challenges that unlock new parts for your plane (which come with their own challenges, and so on). There are 5 body, engine, and gun types, each with their own quirks. The game is easy to play when it starts, gradually working you up to a higher difficulty as you reach a higher cumulative score.
It helps that the controls are quickly learned. ‘W’ supplies thrust, ‘A’ and ‘D’ orient your plane, while ‘X’ fires. Your health, indicated by the circle that forms around your plane when it takes damage, will regenerate as soon as you stop firing.
The graphics are really simple, and have a limited color palette, but the game works just fine with this set-up. Just seeing the sheer size of an approaching battleship had a noted effect on me, which was amplified when it actually started shooting.
Also, wanna know a really cool thing about the music? It’s variable, based on what parts your plane has equipped. Seriously, when you have the game, try different combos and listen to the resulting soundtrack, you’ll be amazed. Well, I thought it was a nice touch, at least.
For all my praise, the game still has its rough spots. The difficulty increases from levels one to ten based on your cumulative score, which means the game will eventually become ridiculously hard no matter how badly you play. Personally, I hit the apex of my enjoyment at around level 6 or 7, and then the game just felt unreasonable. The somewhat random nature of the enemy spawns will also trip you up at the worst possible times, like when you need to keep a combo going and there’s nothing around you to quickly kill. Also, SFMT mode is just ridiculous, with each enemy in the game having roughly triple the firepower they did originally. Lastly, laseraces are broken, somehow managing to keep their lasers trained on you even at full thrust until you die. The fact that they spawn rarely does not help.
So, that is Luftrausers. I personally found the price ($10) to be a little high, but that’s because I only find so much enjoyment in trying to beat my previous high scores (which is all that is left once you complete all the challenges). I still enjoyed my time with it.