Aces of the Luftwaffe: Squadron Image
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  • Summary: Avoid a swarm of bullets and face fearsome war machines in air battles and boss fights. Aces of the Luftwaffe: Squadron is a vertically scrolling shoot ‘em up with a fully-voiced narrative. Upgrade each member of your squadron with their personal skill tree and take on the Aces with up toAvoid a swarm of bullets and face fearsome war machines in air battles and boss fights. Aces of the Luftwaffe: Squadron is a vertically scrolling shoot ‘em up with a fully-voiced narrative. Upgrade each member of your squadron with their personal skill tree and take on the Aces with up to three friends in epic 4-player local co-op battles. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 3
  2. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Oct 4, 2018
    80
    Aces of Luftwaffe – Squadron is an addictive experience you won’t want to miss. Even those who don’t normally don’t enjoy the genre will feel quite appeased with their decision to try it out. The skill system sets this apart from many others like it, and you’ll love maxing out each character and attempting higher difficulties. With only minor setbacks which is completely an opinion, some may consider this game near perfect. The achievement list is fun to tackle and nothing seems impossible or overly difficult. The fierce and frantic gameplay is eased with the generous four lives you get. While it won’t be for everyone, it will be enjoyed by most.
  2. Jul 25, 2018
    70
    It’s colourful and challenging, has enough depth to keep you going back for more, and you can play it with friends.
  3. Jul 31, 2018
    60
    As far as smartphone ‘uplifts’ to consoles go, Aces of the Luftwaffe: Squadron is one of the better I’ve seen. It isn’t going to challenge shmup fans, but it does gain some points for at least trying to do something original with the formula.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 2
  2. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Jul 28, 2018
    8
    The game follows a team of Allied dog fighters as they battle the not-Nazi forces that are in the process of attacking the US on their homeThe game follows a team of Allied dog fighters as they battle the not-Nazi forces that are in the process of attacking the US on their home turf. I say not-Nazi's because the title opted to replace the historical swastika with a basic cross (or X, I'm not sure and it varies depending on the viewpoint), keeping all of the Nazi's other standard garb and design in place. The story plays out via still images between chapters as well as banter that is present before, during, and after each mission. Most of these conversations feel out of place, partially due to the presentation, and break up the momentum of the game, causing some progression based issues that we'll get to later. The characters’ cartoonish appearances (these reminded me of one of the many tween cartoons aimed at girls that my nieces have tortured me with) with the campy writing and ultra-serious voice over tones make it very difficult to determine if the developers we're going for a comedic or serious take on the story. Ultimately, I wanted to skip each and every one of these after completing the first level.

    The game plays as a typical top down shooter, taking down enemy fighters while collecting XP and upgrades (permanent or temporary) with some new twists that are equal parts refreshing and frustrating. You will primarily control a single fighter, with a team of up to three additional planes flying in formation around you making up your squadron. The additional planes will typically follow you around the level, shooting when you do, and are generally a welcome addition; however, you will have to keep in mind that the additional planes can and will likely perish if they collide with enemy ships. This requires the player to manage a much larger section of the screen than your typical shooter. Losing the additional planes does not immediately result in death, since you're primary character is the only one you absolutely have to keep alive, but their buffs will be removed and the loss of their added firepower can make some scenarios a bit difficult. You can make up your team from a total of ten characters, each with their own buff (damage increases, repairing planes, etc) as well as a hindrance (losing control of their plane, requiring you to cover them) that will pop up regularly. This mechanic in particular is a great innovation but is executed poorly, since the issues often occur at the worst possible times. You will earn XP and upgrade tokens over the course of your journey and will have to carefully choose what to upgrade and when. Putting all of the tokens into the primary plane was my initial decision, which limited the buff effects that I received from the other planes early into the campaign. You can respec your characters at any time, but it’s like a game of chess when it comes to choosing the right upgrade at the right time.

    Each of the game’s 25 levels split over five chapters offer a side mission in addition to the primary objective. The side missions are optional, but completing them nets you a pretty hefty bonus to your medals, which work as XP and can also be earned by killing standard enemies. The optional missions are standard for the genre, requiring you to hover over a specific area to rescue people or drop off supplies to ground forces, as well as avoiding damage or taking out specific targets. They add a nice element to the game and promote replaying the levels, however, the in game story that I mentioned previously will often cut off your time that is allotted to complete some of the more tedious objectives, namely the ones you have to hover over, often resulting in the event being missed before it even hits the screen’s mid-point of the ever scrolling level.

    Outside of the story, the presentation is unique and stands out among the competition, due to the tight controls and the slightly blurred backgrounds overlaid above the crisp enemy and player visuals. This creates a 3D illusion, making the most important aspects of the graphics pop in a way few 2D games manage. I found the variety in the enemy units to be a bit bland, partially due to the lack of plane animations, sans the larger boss characters. The bosses are standout encounters, with unique visuals and abilities. These will prove to be the most difficult encounters in the game so it’s a bit disappoint that only a handful are present.

    The difficulty can be adjusted between any missions, with two options available at the start and a third unlocked upon completion of the story. Due to the gracious amount of lives you receive, the normal and hard difficulties are more in line with the easy and normal from similar games, with the final being reserved for purists that wish to one credit clear the levels. With the exception of the boss battles, I easily breezed through the hard mode with little resistance. Adding additional players via local co-op only makes the game easier, lacking any noticeable increase of enemies due to the added players.
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  2. Jul 26, 2018
    7
    If you’ve seen one shoot-em-up then you’ve basically seen them all right? Well no that’s not always the case and even if a game does shareIf you’ve seen one shoot-em-up then you’ve basically seen them all right? Well no that’s not always the case and even if a game does share similarities with another game that still doesn’t stop me from enjoying that said game because I’m a massive fan when it comes to shoot-em-ups. Aces of the Luftwaffe: Squadron is the latest shoot-em-up to make its way to the Xbox One and I actually had some interest in this game because I’ve heard quite a lot of good things about it. Thankfully I’m pleased to say that it gets more things right than it gets wrong but still its shortcomings definitely stop it from reaching its full potential and they also stop it from being included in the higher echelons of shoot-em-ups. That being said it gets the most important aspects of a game of this ilk spot on and in terms of the shooting elements in the game everything feels great and most important of all the shooting provides you with quite a bit of fun and enjoyment. This fun and enjoyment is especially profound when taking on the game’s bosses and I’m not exaggerating when I say that these boss battles were some of the most enjoyable and most exciting boss battles I’ve ever experienced in a shoot-em-up. Unfortunately though whilst the boss battles are exciting the other battles aren’t as exciting and in the end you start to realise that in terms of variety the game is lacking a little bit. This is a shame because the campaign really isn’t that long. Thankfully though you tend to forget about the lack of variety in the game when you play with friends. Don’t get me wrong the game can still be fun when played on your own but if you want to get the most out of the game then I recommend that you play it with friends. Technically the game is a little bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand you do bump into a few issues every now and then and whilst none of these are major issues they can still be a bit of a nuisance every now and then. Thankfully though the controls which are obviously very important in a game like this don’t suffer with any issues and you’ll be pleased to know that they remain tight and responsive throughout your time with the game. The presentation side of the game whilst not being bad in any way is unfortunately not really good either and in the end the basic visuals and sound design did disappoint me a little, which is a shame. At the end of the day whilst Aces of the Luftwaffe: Squadron isn’t the best shoot-em-up I’ve ever played before it’s certainly not the worst either and in the end it definitely has a lot going for it which means it does enough to get a thumbs up from me. Expand