There are probably enough plane games available to start a virtual World War of our own, but it’s fair to say that it’s only been in the most recent years have we seen them becoming quite so popular once more. Whilst those on Xbox, PlayStation and PC may be currently enjoying the delights of the modern Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown however, those of us over on the Switch weren’t quite so fortunate. Fear not though as there is still chance to get in on some dogfighting action by heading back to WW2 with the latest plane title to join the Nintendo Switch library – Warplanes: WW2 Dogfight.
For those who enjoy their fair share of mobile gaming, this particular game may well be one you’ve already heard of, with it having already made its initial appearance with a release on the mobile platform back in 2018. For those that have yet to experience it however, Warplanes: WW2 Dogfight is, as the title suggests, a World War 2 game that sends players on a variety of missions across three separate campaigns, with players able to jump into the cockpit and choose from campaigns centred around Great Britain, the USSR and German forces.
From the off it’s worth noting that whilst the controls feel very arcade-inspired, the actual feel and look of WW2 Dogfight are much closer to that of a simulation type game, which makes for quite a unique overall flight experience.
What makes it better is that unlike many other flight games which require you to master inverted controls, multiple buttons for different weaponry and controlling yaw, pitch, roll and every other slight movement aspect your plane makes, Warplanes: WW2 is satisfyingly accessible. That is because there is nothing more than the right stick for controlling the speed of your plane, the left for turning, whilst pressing LZ allows players to lock-on to enemy aircraft and gun them down with very little additional effort required, RZ proving the trigger from which you fire each deadly round.
Such simplistic and ultimately responsive controls ensure that this game can be accessed by all, and it even brings reason for players to stick around, by introducing RPG type elements into the overall experience.
Of course, I’m not talking in-depth RPG mechanics that genre veterans will be shouting from the skies about, but instead what I’m talking about is Gold, Silver and Prestige Points, the currency within the game and the key to progression. Should you find yourself wanting to make your plane a little more offensively dangerous then Prestige Points should help you out with some key upgrades. Fancy taking to the skies in something a little more fearmongering, then you can splash some gold and buy an entirely new airplane from the 30 that are available throughout the game. Think your plane could do with a little better maintenance? Then you can get some staff brought in to ensure your planes are in tip-top condition.
Sounds interesting doesn’t it? Well that’s because it is. In fact, if it wasn’t for the mindful menus and user friendly interface ensuring things are kept simple, smooth and easy to understand, there is enough here to get lost in, making you think that you’re actually playing a management sim. Fortunately, all that stuff goes on in the background after you’ve made your initial decisions, allowing for you to get stuck into the thick of it without worrying about what happens behind the scenes.
Another vast positive in Warplanes: WW2 is just how fantastic it actually looks. With planes bearing such a perfect resemblance of the real thing, this is by far the best visual plane experience you’ll find on Nintendo Switch. Unfortunately, like many air combat games the scenery isn’t quite as perfect and whilst things look lovely, it would have been nice to have seen a little more ‘life’ to elements on the ground, as opposed to a sky full of enemy planes and a barren earth. There are of course missions that require you to blow naval ships out of the water and others that allow you to bomb enemy targets on the ground, but I for one am still waiting for a game to actually introduce any form of civilian life to bring a true sense of realism to the overall experience.
Overall, and there aren’t really many negatives when you look at the Warplanes: WW2 Dogfight experience, but there are a few things that stop it from being the perfect arcade dogfighting adventure. One is the rapid change in level difficulty, and whilst there is more than one campaign, there aren’t really many missions that make up the core experience. What makes it more challenging however is that one mission could be an absolute breeze to blast through in just a few minutes, whilst the next could see you forced to restart time and time again, before realising you might need to save up and get a few upgrades before heading in for such a challenging affair. With no way to know which missions to watch out for, progress can at times feel like a grind.
That said, with a little balancing or by simply upgrading your plane as much as possible, there would be no reason to complain and even though the audio doesn’t always bring the best experience, there is nothing that really stands out negatively. This is genuinely a surprisingly enjoyable and engaging combat game, and whether your looking for something with a bit of depth, or a game to simply pick up on a rainy day, Warplanes WW2 Dogfight on Nintendo Switch is a game you will definitely want to consider.
Release date: February 2019
Formats: Nintendo Switch (Review)
Massive thanks to: 7Levels