It’s really wonderful when you load up an indie game for the first time and you’re immediately intrigued by the world that has been created for you. LUFTRAUSERS is brought to you by the same team that created Ridiculous Fishing, undoubtedly one of the best iOS games ever released. LUFTRAUSERS adds mixes the gameplay theme from the classic arcade shooter, Asteroids, while incorporating challenges in the same vein as Jetpack Joyride.
The game throws you straight into the deep end. Launching from your submarine for the first time you are given a quick run through of the controls. Your objective, survive for as long as possible while gaining the highest score. It should be simple. Straight from the get go the game seems unfair as you start shooting down, or at least trying to, the large numbers of hostile fighter jets, missiles, warships and blimps that fill the field. Very rarely do you feel like you’ve entered an arcade shooter, but instead the very depths of bullet hell.
The controls of LUFTRAUSERS are not always up to the task of such intensity. A few well placed shots can blow your rauser up and the occasional impreciseness of the controls only add to a continued sense of frustration that quickly becomes the hallmark of the game. And yet the gameplay itself is so compelling that you’ll come back for more and more. When you aren’t firing your weapon, your rauser has the ability to heal itself, and so there’s an entertaining strategy involved in flying up to the relative safety of the clouds to regenerate and then stalling so you can descend quickly while also focusing on taking out the enemies that surround you. Everything about the game is created around having fun and being exciting, and those intense dogfights certainly check those boxes.
Before you launch, you’re given the a rundown of the current challenges you have to complete. Completing challenges earns you new parts to modify your rauser. Weapon, Body and Engine are all separate, with each part to each section of the rauser offering different ability and statistics, so there’s a mix and match process that is required to find the right combination to fit the individual player. Modified engines can shoot bullets to propel the aircraft through the air, while lasers can be equipped to take out lines of enemies, for instance.
And that’s all there is to it. There isn’t much motivation to play for long periods of time, given the short amount of time you’re in the air in any single game, as well as the mobile-style challenges that form the core of the upgrade process. You’ll have a few attempts while you’re sitting on the bus, or before you go to sleep. But it’s not the kind of game that is suited to being tied down onto a home console or PC.
What you will find joy in, no matter what platform you’re playing on, is the beautiful sepia tone that the game has. It makes you feel like you’re playing the part in an old war film. Your rauser stands out from the white clouds, as the the yellow bullets that fill the screen on multiple occasions. With no visible health bar on screen, the game warns you that you’re vehicle is damaged as the screen grows white. The game is very smart with its use of colour, creating one of the more visually striking games you’ll ever play.
There is no way that I could advise people to pick this game on any system other than the Vita. It’s not to say that the Steam and PlayStation 3 versions are bad games, some slight control issues aside, but you’re going to find a lot more enjoyment if you’re playing a mobile game on a mobile device.
– Sam M.