Feb 6, 2011

Short Review: Who's That Flying ?

I have another indie review for you today! From UK Developer Mediatonic, here is "Who's that Flying?" !

Who's That Flying ?? (WTF from now) is a side scrolling schmup as they like to call it these days, a side scrolling shoot'em up game just like you remember them from the NES (Or SNES/Super Famicom) days. The game is available on the PC from Steam for a tenner, and  for PS3 and PSP (Not price checked. Maybe Xbox? not heard anything about a release on it, dont shoot me please if its there and I missed it.)
In WTF you take on the role of a superhero assigned to defend Earth. Which would be good except you are on trial to the superhero council or something, for not doing your job defending Earth well enough. There was an alien invasion y'see. The game plays out with the player re-enacting parts of the defence of Earth, as the trial of our hero proceeds.

WTF gives you no nonsense sprite based graphics that will (not tested) probably run on any netbook or low spec PC you try it on. The graphical style is simple and cartoony, but it does the job well. The music and sound effects are very basic but nevertheless does its job as well, getting you in the mood for blasting Earth invaders. There's nothing fancy to see here, even the cutscenes between missions are terribly low resolution.

What the game scores top on presentation wise however is humour, the cutscenes have a lot of tongue in cheek superhero humour, and.. a lot of humour for us lesser beings too. From our hero air-posing for magazine shots, to the evidence room, and between mission briefings, the laughs aren't far away if you enjoy some simple humour.

WTF is a side scrolling shooter, and a very basic one at that. However, the controls are superresponsive and the action is fast paced, with some special moves thrown into the mix that you might expect from a superhero, but not a shoot'em up game. As Earth's superhero defender, you yourself are invulnerable, but the cities you defend are not. So, you can smash into all aliens you see and can even destroy the lesser varieties with a fancy melee move, but any aliens that slip past you will do damage to your city instead. Let too many aliens past, and it's game over.

Initially the game might not seem so tough, but after the inital stage warming you up to the mechanics things get bad, fast and you are forced to make use of your powers as often as possible. Powers? Yes, you're a superhero, of course there are powers. Our saviour of Earth's standard attack is a repeat fire laser 'blob' that goes in a straight line (If you know Megaman, you know what to expect). However, by defeating a full wave of alien invaders boosts our hero's superpower thingie. As soon as that is charged you can unleash rapid fire 'blobs' or different strength lazer attacks that cut through anything. Already after the first stage you are faced with stronger aliens that require softening up with firepower before you can 'grab' them and finish them with a special move.

I love all of this, enough so I don't even mind the game is strictly singleplayer. There are no multiplayer options, at all.

WTF is something as rare as a recent date western shoot em up, and not only that, it plays damn well and is tons of fun to play. Nostalgics will love revisiting the sidescrolling genre, and the brutality of the gameplay, and experts can set their eyes on high or perfect scores to unlock extra goodies. Despite being a strictly singleplayer game I feel safe recommending WTF for anyone looking for some cheap entertainment and solid shoot'em up action.

- Very solid arcade shoot em up gameplay
- Fun story mode between missions, and humour in general

- Very basic graphics and sound. This could be pro, whichever way you look at it. Any PC will run this game flawlessly.
- True schmup enthusiasts will not be overly challenged by this game
- I'd love some co-op options

Overall, a good release for anyone who likes shooting things up, worth picking up for the price. If you don't know shoot'em up games however or am no fan of the genre, this won't get you into it.

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