Developer: Home Net Games
Price: £8.99 / $9.99
Fans of games set in the WW2 era are in for a treat as Warplanes: WW2 Dogfight was recently released onto the Nintendo eShop. Let’s get our pilots jacket on and see if this dog can hunt.
Take to the Skies!
In this WW2 flight sim you’ll get to take on a variety of missions for Great Britain, Germany and the USSR. Each nation has a good pool of aircraft to choose from, including iconic planes such as the Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster bomber to name but a few. As an added bonus the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk is available exclusively for the Nintendo Switch.
Your immediately thrown into the action when you start the game and play through a couple of quick tutorial missions to explain the controls and user interface. The game is described as offering “easy-to-learn gameplay with intuitive controls and user-friendly flight mechanics”. This is all true and makes the game accessible for players who have never played a flying-shooter before. I love playing the space battles in Star wars Battlefront II but I’m not the most gifted pilot as it turns out. Warplanes is a lot easier to play but not too easy that there is no challenge and not enjoyable. Veteran pilots of more in-depth flying simulators, such as the Ace Combat series, may find Warplanes a bit too simplistic. However if you wanted to get your flying fix while on the go when you’re out and about then I would absolutely say that this game would satisfy that need.
Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail
Successfully completing a mission earns you fuel, silver, gold and prestige points. You use these resources to manage your own airbase which involves building physical structures, such as hangers to house your ever increasing air force or workshops to repair damaged planes to name but two. The bigger your base becomes the higher the daily base operating costs become and the more people are needed to keep the base operational. Gold is used to purchase new planes and they are all available to you to buy from the get go as long as you have enough gold to afford them. I liked this approach as you can add to your squadron any way you wish and gives the player a lot more freedom. For example some games require you to reach a certain playing level before unlocking objects or upgrades but the only thing standing in your way in Warplanes is if you have enough gold and hanger capacity. Each plane has its own strengths and weakness and come equipped with different weapons. It’s good fun buying a new plane and trying out how it flies, you’ll find that you’ll have your favourite go to plane that you can’t leave base without.
There are four mission types you can choose from: offensive, defensive, naval and special. Each offer different reward bonuses for completing the objectives. Before taking off for the mission you are able to choose what planes will be involved in the mission and what planes should be left at base. Obviously the more planes involved in the mission means the greater the amount of fuel that will be consumed but the more firepower you have the easier the mission will be to complete. It’s up to you how you approach it. You are able to switch between planes mid-mission which is great because if you run out of ammo or bombs you can switch to another plane in the battle and send the empty plane back to base to reload its ammo. The same goes if you take too much damage, instead of risking destroying your plane and failing the mission you can switch planes and send the plane back to base where it will remain out of action for the missions duration.
The missions start off straight forward but gradually increase in difficulty and would take me a couple of attempts to succeed. I would have to change my strategy, not only when flying the mission itself but also in the planning stages before take off. I managed to find myself in the situation where I didn’t have enough hangers to repair all my damaged planes, but then when I did build more hangers I didn’t have enough silver to repair them all. I had to prioritise which planes to repair before setting out on missions. For example it would be very difficult to complete a bombing mission if all my bombers were out of action and all I had were fighters. The base management element of the game adds an extra layer to Warplanes that makes the game enjoyable even when you’re not shooting down enemy planes.
Flying with Motion Controls
One of the stand out features for me is the excellent use of the Switch’s motion controls. This took me by surprise as normally I find motion controls have been tacked on and don’t work well compared to traditional control methods. I can safely say that I prefer playing Warplanes with motion controls. By default motion controls are turned off so to turn them on your have to go into the options while flying a mission and turn on the accelerometer option. Using motion controls in tabletop mode, with a Joy-Con in each hand, works great and also in docked mode if you use the Pro Controller accelerometer it works just as efficiently. The only mode where motion controls don’t work for me is in handheld mode but luckily it’s easy to change the control options while playing.
Visuals and Audio
Warplanes looks good on Nintendo Switch but it’s not groundbreaking visually. The environments can look a tad samey and things look a bit bare on the ground level but to be honest when you’re concentrating on manoeuvring your plane to avoid the enemy’s artillery you’re not really focusing on how lovely the scenery looks. It does the job nicely in my opinion. There are the odd frame rate drop when playing but you shouldn’t let this take anything away from the game. It still runs really well and there are virtually no load times.
To add a bit of authenticity you have the option to use national voice-overs for the three main campaigns. I preferred to have this turned on as it was strange when I was playing the German campaign to have a British voice-over give my mission briefing. When I switched over to the national voice and the harsh German tones took over it sounded so much better! I can’t speak German so had to read the subtitles but it felt more authentic playing this way.
Check out the trailer below:
This game was provided by 7Levels for the purpose of this review.