Developer: Runner Duck Games
Publisher: Curve Digital
Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Strategy & Simulation
Release Date: July 10, 2018 (Worldwide)
Take to the Skies and Send the Enemy Packing!
Bomber Crew is a World War 2 flight simulation game, originally released as a Windows game in October 2017 developed by Runner Duck and published by Curve Digital. Now Bomber Crew flies its way as a port seeing a simultaneous release on the Xbox One, PS4, and Switch. The game joins together the gameplay similar to the spaceship management simulator of Faster than Life and wraps it in a package of cute graphics and meaningful characterizations. The main gameplay of Bomber Crew starts off with mission briefings where you are tasked with putting together a team of complimentary pilots, gunners, support positions and more.
The main gameplay hook that will keep you coming back is figuring out the best combination of roles for your team to help you survive the battles ahead. Survival is the main core of Bomber Crew and sometimes the levels themselves are a challenge to get right. At least it’s easy enough to start over if your team doesn’t make it through the course of its mission. Sometimes repeat tries are positives for games and in Bomber Crew it was the thrill of victory that kept me coming back and building a plan to victory.
Your story unfolds through missions where surveillance, reconnaissance, and dogfights will occur throughout the game’s levels. It is in recognizing your mission objectives and focusing on what strengths from your crew you will need to complement the tasks ahead that will ultimately lead to survival. As you gain experience in your missions your characters will earn cash and experience that aid in your crew members abilities. Skills can come in the form of pilots gaining extra maneuvering abilities for flight combat and gunners buffing their focus ability to help in honing in on targets during dogfights.
Bomber Crew lends itself to a grind and learn, style of level progression. While you can win without the requisite level upgrades and abilities, as you move through your missions you will generally unlock them anyways, as well as, gaining cash to spend on upgrades. If you find yourself ill-prepared you can replay missions to gain that extra boost you need and I did so a few times while playing through the campaign.
Most of the missions in Bomber Crew have you tagging objectives and moving throughout the plane during the course of your flight to manage turrets, bomb drops, ammo and mechanical failures. While you are looking around you can tag objects and places, like enemy aircraft, bombing drop zones, and your landing zone with ‘ZL’. You can position the camera close up to see all of your crew in their various positions in the plan or scan the horizon line for enemies, mission objectives, and your base during landing sequences.
During your missions, your crew will be tasked with refilling ammo or fixing mechanical issues that may crop up among other jobs. Navigating through your crew members is simple as scrolling up and down while holding the ‘B’ button. Assigning a task however and position in the plane can become needlessly tiresome as you try and manage their position and duties while also managing what is going on outside the airplane as your crew engages in battles.
The system for maneuvering through your tasks has a more computer-friendly or even touch friend layout to it and at first the navigation through crew members and objects seemed overwhelming. I did seem a bit underwhelmed not being able to just tap and drag my character into position, but perhaps the game was never meant to have touch controls.
After a few missions, you will get the hang out of telling crew members where to go and what to do. Knowing when to place emphasis on one part of your planes needs will result in a better score and completion of the mission. If you fail to acknowledge enemy encounters, ammo refills and more that is set before you, you will fail your mission quickly.
One thing I had forgotten a few times was to drop the landing gear for my plane in a timely manner. Usually, I would drop the landing gear too early which resulted in a slower descent to the landing zone as the wheels being down longer meant more drag in the air.
I think one of my favorite parts of the game is the ability to customize your aircraft with some various text and artwork. This customization is purely for aesthetics and does nothing to help or hinder your flight path. You can however easily get lost in the options you have, as you create something uniquely your own.
Bomber Crew has a variety of sounds that you will hear during your flight through the battlefield. As turrets lock on and fire their bullets at you the sound of your airplane hull being torn to shreds feels real and helps to alert you to when you are taking damage. Along with the bullet fire, the weather effects, like rain pound against your airplane adding to the drama.
During my gameplay, which was primarily docked this time around I didn’t notice any lag except for a few frame rate drops when encountering multiple enemies during a dogfight. The frame rate dips seemed minimal and didn’t take away from the games intense moments. The game also never locked up or crashed on me and otherwise ran smoothly during my playthrough.
Bomber Crew sets out to be different looking, as a game that under the hood is doing a lot of different things all at once. Sometimes the User Interface and small text, not to mention all the things you are tasked to do, can overwhelm you. But it is this gameplay hook that kept me trying to manage my crew better with each mission ahead of me. Bomber Crew is best when all of the parts, and your teammates, are working together for the common goal and managing that can be a fun, but at first, it may be a bit overwhelming for some gamers. Overall I enjoyed the challenges and the mission varieties and felt as though I had earned my wings as I managed my crew.
THE VERDICT: 9/10
*Review Key Provided by Curve Digital
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This post was written by jonathanober