New Game Review

Review – Aces of the Luftwaffe: Squadron (Xbox One)

Doesn't quite stick the landing

Aces of the Luftwaffe: Squadron is a shoot-em-up bullet hell game set in an alternate World War II timeline where the Nazis have some seriously advanced technology (I’ve seen that before…) . Split across five acts, you will be fighting wave after wave of enemies whilst completing a small variety of objectives and the occasional boss fight.

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As you move vertically up the screen, you will need to destory as many enemy units as possible whilst dodging a hail of bullets, just like all of its genre peers. There’s pickups that give you a random powerups, be it a new primary or secondary attack.

The controls are really responsive and most of the deaths felt like my fault. As you weave through a barrage of bullets I had little to complain about the gameplay: the powerups give you a noticeable advantage without feeling too overpowered. The difficulty curve is generally quite good, gently throwing more units with diverse attack patterns at you, with the exception of some of the later boss fights, which give you little room to maneuver through cheap attacks. The sudden increase in difficulty was brisk and more than noticeable. Boss fights themselves were nothing special. The only one that I can give credit to is the flying train boss for its creative design in comparison to all of the others.

You will occasionally need to do some other things besides just mindless shooting everything in sight. A stealth mission changes the pace nicely for a single mission, whilst others act more like escort missions, having you defend another plane. Side objectives have you either destroy unique enemy units or hover over a specific drop zone for a few seconds. Other than that single stealth mission, there wasn’t a lot of level variety in Aces of the Luftwaffe: Squadron.

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The stealth mission was a nice change of pace.

When playing solo, you will have AI teammates that will fly right next to you: these can be helpful as they will block some damage coming your way. Everytime they get destroyed (which will be very often, believe me) they will respawn a little later. Use them wisely!

The game also adds some really weird character traits that try to add a bit more variety to the gameplay but are just bizarre and quite nonsensical in execution. The main character has an illness that will trigger in some missions. Once triggered, he has to move slowly to stop taking damage. Your AI partners have their own traits: one will go rampage so you have to stay away from them whilst another will… fall asleep. In an attempt to add variety, those weird traits just come off as annoying.

Visually, Aces of the Lutwaffe: Squadron isn’t anything special but it’s more than passable. The visual design does a good job to make sure you don’t get lost in the action, given the huge amount of elements onscreen, but that’s about it. Character designs are horrible and the levels do eventually get boring to look at, though. Sound design isn’t great, on the other hand: the voice acting is bad enough that you will want to mute it after a couple of missions. Besides this, the overall sound department gets very repetitive very quick. The constant sound of machine gun fire gets boring quickly. It’s worth turning down the sound.

Overall, Aces of the Luftwaffe: Squadron is a fun shoot-em-up that provides enjoyment for a short while: just don’t expect much else from it.

 

Graphics: 6.5

While not exactly special, the graphics are decent enough to get the job done at the end of the day. The character designs are an issue, though.

Gameplay: 7.0

Regarding the controls, they are pretty responsive. The game features some questionable gameplay decisions that are just weird in execution.

Sound: 3.0

The sound is annoying enough to make you want to mute your entire TV set.

Fun Factor: 7.0

While the game itself provided enough bullet hell action, it still lacked in terms of level variety.

Final Verdict: 6.5

Aces of the Luftwaffe: Squadron is available now on PC, Xbox One, Playstation 4 and Switch.
A copy of Aces of the Luftwaffe: Squadron was provided by the publisher.

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