22
Mar
14

Luftrausers

It was almost three years ago that Vlambeer released Luftrauser, a free web game that put you in control of a plane that maneuvered like the ship from Asteroids, but with gravity.  It encouraged players to perform outlandish stunts to chain together attacks on other planes and ships.  As is usually the case with Vlambeer’s games, it was cloned before too long.  Luftrauser was only a prototype for what would later become Luftrausers.  And I’ve been eagerly waiting for my opportunity to throw money their way for it.

Luftrauser had laid a foundation for the fully expanded game.  It had a polished, entertaining game mechanic that Luftrausers successfully iterates on in a way that continuously engages the player.  It accomplishes this by allowing you to customize the rauser: it’s body, weapon, and engine.  Each component carries with it a series of challenges for the player to complete.  Progress in completing these goals unlocks further components and as a result, more challenges.  Enemy types have also been fleshed out and enhanced for this version of the game.  They will be thrown at the player at a rate that increases with your score and meets the player’s relentlessness in kind.  Only with

Vlambeer has also built upon the original’s visual design to give Luftrausers a distinctive and memorable look.  Vehicles are silhouetted against sepia tones, but retain animations that give the impression of three dimensional motion.  It’s a small detail that helps the player to quickly identify and track everything in motion on the screen at any given time.  Otherwise the designs for characters and brief cut scenes are a satisfying diversion between levels and reinforce the the game’s WWII Luftwaffe motif.

For fans of stylized action that rewards player skill, the $10 asking price for Luftrausers is a good deal, especially considering how many platforms the game covers (cross buy for PS3/Vita, or all desktop/laptop operating systems.)  Rauser customization and challenges ensure that the game never gets dull and makes it easy to remix the action.  Perhaps if it does well enough, we can eventually have a sequel that includes a PVP mode?  One can hope!

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