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Game Info:

Dustoff Heli Rescue
Developed by: Invictus Games Ltd.
Published by: Black Shell Media
Release date: March 6, 2015
Available on: Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android
Number of players: Single-player
Genre: Action
ESRB Rating: Not rated
Price: $3.99

Thank you Black Shell Media for sending us this game to review!

When I was growing up I owned an Atari 2600 and one of my favorite games on it was Choplifter.  In Choplifter you had to fly a helicopter and rescue stranded soldiers in a desert battlefield.  Dustoff Heli Rescue has a similar premise but with better 3D Minecraft style graphics and a jungle backdrop.

In total there are twenty-five missions and they range from rescuing soldiers to picking up cargo.  The soldiers are usually easy to find with their red flare smoke, but sometimes they are in cages you'll have to break beforehand.  In other missions the hostages are in an enemy convoy that you’ll have to shoot down first.  The convoy rarely travels alone so you’ll have to take out its escorts as well.

By default, the helicopter auto-fires, but you can set it to manual if you really want a challenge.  In total there are three different helicopters and guns that you can unlock throughout the game.  Each helicopter has different attributes when it comes to capacity and maneuverability.  Carrying more soldiers is helpful, but are you willing to deal with a harder to control helicopter?

Dustoff Heli Rescue
Highlights:

Strong Points: Cute Choplifter remake with Minecraft style visuals
Weak Points: Significant difficulty spike when the severe weather levels unlock and make the helicopters frustratingly difficult to control
Moral Warnings: Vehicular explosions, enemy soldiers run away and don’t appear to get shot

Whenever you land on the helipad your helicopter’s health and ammunition will refill.  Try not to let either get too low as it takes time to recharge.  Depending on your completion time, you’ll earn a gold, silver, or a bronze medal for the completing the level.  

The levels have plenty of variety.  Some of them take place in sunny weather with plenty of open space to fly through.  Others have you steering through caverns which takes a lot of precision.  There are no checkpoints so if you crash you’ll have to restart from the beginning.  More challenging levels take place in severe weather conditions that cripple the simple control scheme.  When you’re close to half-way through the game, the difficulty ramps up significantly and can be very frustrating.

By default, the game uses only the left and right arrow keys.  You can bind them to the shoulder buttons of a gamepad if you desire.  To lift off you simply press both buttons and then use the arrow or shoulder button for the direction you wish to go.  Sometimes you’ll have to press the opposite button to stabilize your helicopter.  Delicate landings are a must and you’ll have to tap both buttons to slow down your descent.  If you choose to manually fire your gun, you'll have to click on your mouse to do so.

Dustoff Heli Rescue
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 80%
Gameplay - 15/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 94%
Violence - 7/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

I’ve learned the hard way that tipping over your helicopter or landing in water will cause your helicopter to explode.  Other than accidentally killing your passengers, this game is pretty tame when it comes to violence.  Enemy vehicles still explode, but you don’t see any blood or gore.  In fact, the enemy soldiers are seen running away when your helicopter approaches their encampments.

The soldiers in this game are blocky in nature and look very similar to the characters in Minecraft.  The graphics are decent and don’t require high end systems to run smoothly.  The audio is well done and the static laden radio chatter is a nice touch.

Overall this is a cute game that gets a little frustrating when you’re half-way though completing it.  There is plenty of replay-ability with the option of besting your previous score and trying to find the five hidden dog tags in each of the levels.  The price is a reasonable $3.99 and is worth picking up if it goes on sale.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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