Thank you HandyGames for sending us a review code!
It’s 1942 and just when Europe thinks that the war with Germany is over, the Axis are launching an attack on the USA. It’s up to four European pilots to save the world by shooting down lots of planes, zeppelins, and flying saucers. As great as these pilots are, they each have a weakness or ailment that tends to impair them at the most inconvenient time.
Mark Taylor has been experimented on and poisoned by a mad German scientist and gets sick randomly as a result. When Mark's poison kicks in he has to fly slowly or he will lose health. Melissa Monroe is afraid of heights which is kind of ironic for an ace pilot. When her fear is in play her plane goes off the screen. Steve Davis has narcolepsy and needs to be defended when he conks out. John King goes berserk when he gets really angry and when he’s enraged, his ship can damage allies if they go near him or his bullets.
There are five chapters with five levels each. The last level always has a boss battle which is eluded to in the previous level. Although I enjoyed playing co-op with my son, I found that I fared better against the bosses solo. Playing co-op only adds one more life and sharing them with a lesser skilled player makes boss battles even more challenging.
Excluding the boss battles, every other level has a main objective and an optional one. By completing each objective you’ll earn skill points which can be used to upgrade pilot abilities. Each pilot has a unique skill set such as repairing or increasing the damage/defense for everyone. Throughout the game, other aircraft become available and they usually provide different perks and trade-offs worth looking into. I like the aircraft that adds 15% health but subtracts the same amount from my damage.
Many enemies drop medals which can increase your experience points and pilot levels. Besides medals, you can also pick up weapon upgrades which stack up quite nicely. Going from bullets to flamethrowers and eventually laser beams makes things very interesting. When playing co-op it’s difficult to share the limited number of weapon upgrades. Skills points take a lot of effort to acquire, but there is a hidden one in each level and it’s worth replaying them if you have missed it by chance.
Aces of the Luftwaffe – Squadron looks and sounds good with the 2D artwork and good voice acting. Unfortunately, there is some cussing in the dialogue. Though the word sh*t is never finished, you can tell what the pilot was trying to say. Other words like God, d*mn, and h*ll are spelled out completely. There is some slang used to describe the Germans including the term “Krauts.”
While this title ran well on my Xbox One X, I did notice some occasional stuttering and performance issues which is a bit surprising.
Overall, I enjoyed playing this game with my son and daughter. I did have to take out multiple bosses on my own though. The character weaknesses are more frustrating than funny, but they do add to the challenge a bit. The difficulty really cranks up in the fourth chapter so brace yourself for that if you plan on picking up this $14.99 title.