Iron Combat: War in the Air
Developed by: Amzy
Published by: Teyon
Release Date: March 19, 2015
Available on: 3DS
ESRB Rating:E 10+ for fantasy violence
Thank you Teyon for sending us this game to review!
I've been an anime fan for a while and own the box sets for Mobile Suit Gundam Seed. For those who are not familiar with the series it's about combat pilots that can fly jets which can transform into powerful battle bots. The transforming and battle abilities in Iron Combat: War in the Air reminded me of Gundams.
The English subtitled Japanese voice-overs take some getting used to since I tend to watch anime in my native language. Unfortunately, you cannot skip past the lengthy dialogue in the beginning of the missions. For grins I gave this game to a child to play and Japanese dialogue was too much for them. There is a lot of text in this game so make sure whoever plays is good at reading!
Story wise Iron Combat: War in the Air isn't anything special. The countries and structure as we know it have been dissolved and have since been reconstructed into two factions. Those two factions are at war now. As a secret military experiment, you have volunteered to do what it takes to help end the war. The fate of the world lies in your hands. Good luck!
Strong Points: Action packed air combat
Weak Points: Brutally hard; horrible controls that force you to rely on the auto-lock-on feature
Moral Warnings: Combat violence
The first mission will explain the controls including how to transform, accelerate and fire your bullets or missiles at enemy aircraft and tanks. The beginning mission is usually an easy one in the games I typically play. That is not the case here as I must have died at least ten times before completing it. To make matters worse, I couldn't skip past the lengthy tutorial on my subsequent retries.
I fared better in the second mission by beating it on the first try. My hopes of getting the hang of this game were quickly dashed on the third mission where I encountered a giant battle station that needed to be decimated. If you do manage to beat a mission, you are rewarded with a score and funds to upgrade your sub units.
You don't get much money in the beginning missions and the amount you get is proportional to how much damage and time you took. By saving up enough credits, you can increase your attack, defense, boost, and range subunits. Missions can be replayed in the freeplay game mode and funds from that can be carried back over into the campaign mode. If you find yourself underpowered for any of the twelve missions, go back and grind for upgrade money in the freeplay mode.
Like many games, Iron Combat: War in the Air has various achievements. You earn achievements for launching the game, buying and equipping upgrades, completing missions and for taking out enemy prototypes.
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)
Game Score - 66%
Gameplay - 14/20
Graphics - 6/10
Sound - 6/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 2/5
Morality Score - 94%
Violence - 7/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10
The enemy units look pretty daunting, especially the prototypes. After defeating them, their explosions look believable. The radar is functional and the main character looks great in her robot and jet forms. Sadly the rest of the graphics are rather bland. The mission worlds are lifeless and devoid of color and detail. There are visible walls that prevent you from straying away too far.
Besides the cruel and unchangeable difficulty, my biggest complaint in this game is the controls. As cool looking as this military experiment appears, her handling is rather pathetic and unforgivable. In her jet mode she can roll in all directions, but turning is impossible. The humanlike form can strafe, but not turn. After recently beating Ace Combat Assault Horizon Legacy+, I've been spoiled by free reign controls. To compensate for the lack of maneuverability, the game will autolock and steer you towards your targets. While the guiding is helpful, it's very annoying when there are multiple targets and you want to shoot them down in a different order than the AI suggests.
The limited controls also make it difficult to dodge missile attacks. They can sometimes be blocked with bullets or missiles, but your best defense is to constantly move and dodge them to the best of your abilities. Once you get hit, there is no way to recover lost health points. Energy quickly recharges, but it is not limitless like bullets and missiles.
Iron Combat: War in the Air offers a lot of action, but difficult controls and missions. The dance style background music is very anime like, but the voice acting would have been better if it was localized. The graphics are disappointing and the controls simply make this game unenjoyable. While the price is reasonable at $6.99 there are better games available on Nintendo's eShop.