'Luftrausers' Takes You For A Trip Into The Unfriendly Skies

March 21, 2014

Taking to the skies is nothing new for video games, and players have been spreading their wings as far back as the days of Spacewar and Asteroids. Countless amazing games have taken place in planes or on space ships, ranging from Time Pilot to Flight Simulator to Geometry Wars, so it's fair to wonder what's left? Maybe nothing, but that doesn’t mean that the indie wunderkinds at Vlambeer aren't going to try and make something fantastic. In Luftrausers the dynamic duo have crafted yet another addictive, over the top experience for gamers - especially the ones that like to jump into a crazy game and shoot everything that moves.

Developer: Vlambeer
Publisher: Devolver Digital

Vlambeer is made up of just two guys, Rami Ismail and Jan Willem Nijman, who just like to make games. Luftrausers is seemingly the culmination of their huge success over the last few years. Founded in 2010, the team have become one of the biggest names in the independent gaming scene after having released titles like Super Crate Box and Ridiculous Fishing. It becomes quite clear that the team has garnered such respect and credibility within in the industry when reading through the play testers listed in the game's credits, since it reads like a Who's Who of the indie gaming scene.

Luftrausers is the console and handheld evolution of an early Vlambeer flash game, Luftrauser, which focused on intense, aerial combat. Luftrausers expands on that experience and brings it to a different set of screens. The game puts you in the cockpit of an upgradable fighter plane, and it's your mission to shoot anything that moves. With a scaled-down, brownish-hued art style, and near constant rewards, Luftrausers has the pulls inspiration from some of the most addictive mobile games on the market, but with the precision and sensibilities of a console game.

As your plane shoots through the air, you have to dodge bullets and missiles constantly, making hairpin turns just to stay in the air. As you learn to navigate the unfriendly skies you'll rack up your multiplier with constant kills, and in turn unlock new parts for your plane. These upgrades range from more armor to better weapons, and it's their variety that really lets the player tailor their plane for their specific play style. The game is fast, and all encompassing: it's just enough to keep you playing "one more game" over and over again.

Vlambeer fans can sail off into the wild brown yonder in Luftrausers on their PlayStation 3, PS Vita, or on their PC via Steam. On Sony's platforms, Luftrausers is a Cross-Buy, so you basically get two games for the price of one. Unfortunately, it isn't Cross-Save compatible, so you'll have to play through and collect all of your unlocks twice. On the up side, the Vita version is just as solid of an experience as the PS3 release is, most likely because Vlambeer know a thing or two about making a good mobile game.

It's not every day that a game like Luftrausers comes along. Actually, every day hundreds of games like Luftrausers get released, but virtually none of them are on par with the quality of a Vlambeer game. The classic, arcade-style gameplay, mixed with the muted visuals, and intense combat really do mix together well, creating a fun package for almost any gamer, whether you're on a console or on a handheld. As long as you have a tolerance for a lot of things happening on the screen at once, then you should Luftrausers is a great game to settle into, even if you only have a couple minutes here and there.