Developer: Handy Games
Publisher: Handy Games
Handy Games has released three Xbox One games so far, with Clouds & Sheep 2 being my favorite. With Aces of the Luftwaffe – Squadron they fly into the shmup genre, an overcrowded genre on the Xbox store. It has to be good to stand out and it does exactly that.
What is good?
- Voiced: You don’t see it often but Aces of the Luftwaffe is fully voiced with some decent voice actors. These kind of games rarely have the resources to do that so thumbs up for Handy Games! The game really benefits from it, the characters have more personality and the story unfolds a lot better.
- Level up system: This small game screams replay value and the main reason is the level up progression. With each level up or completed bonus mission you get a skill point, this can be freely used to buy new skills or stat increasing bonuses. Each wingman has a different unlock trees, with a different focus. One of them is aimed for repairing you, an other for doing more damage or dodging fire. Easy to use and pretty tactical too!
- Story: The game combines real life with an alternative made up event from the World War. After Europe was liberated from the Germans a secret organisation invaded USA with some alien-like aircraft. It is your task to free it again with a great cast of characters and funny dialogue. The story isn’t anything original but it gets the job done.
- Gameplay: Fan from Shoot ’em Ups or not, Aces of the Luftwaffe is really fun. The hectic and fast gameplay will be something that everyone can love. It remains pretty fresh with some variations, wingman specific issues (for example: a wingman that falls asleep) and epic boss fights. Sure it completely throws away any form of realistic views but who cares if it’s fun right?
- Co-op!: 3 other players can join you in the epic quest to free the coasts and cities from USA. Yeah, I am obliged to say that it is a shame that we don’t have online support but I’m happy and pretty impressed by the co-op play. Performance takes a little bit more dips but nothing game breaking or annoying.
- Performance: On some occasions the game has some frame rate slowdowns, nothing annoyingly lower than two digits but it can be noticeable while playing.
- Difficulty: The challenge is all over the place, a lot of the levels (even on hard) are really easy to complete while other (boss) levels are frustratingly difficult and require multiple attempts. I never shy away from some challenging parts but I really dislike the overall balance.
What is bad?
- Loading time: Starting or restarting a level can take quite some time, I haven’t timed it but I’m guessing around the 30-40 seconds mark. Way too long for a game like this, while the loading screen gives some useful information it remains a painfully slow process.
Aces of the Luftwaffe [Score: 85%] German studio Handy Games released another impressive and fun game for Xbox One. Especially great for co-op players but still awesome for single players too. Aces shows that in a pretty filled genre you can still release something that stands out!
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