Banger: A Review Of LUFTRAUSERS

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Vlambeer’s Jan Willem Nijman did a talk recently about what makes games enjoyable. Aimed at developers, the talk was designed to show how, through design tricks, you can get more Bang For Your Buck out of the gameplay. It’s interesting to see that talk, but it’s down right fascinating to see how literally every trick he cites is found in their newest game, LUFTRAUSERS.

It’s a raucous, concentrated blast of fun. Vlambeer practices what it preaches.

The developer is easing into the public consiousness, building a roster of top-notch games, all with an earmark of quality and consistency that few developers can match. Nuclear Throne, Ridiculous Fishing, Super Crate Box… each game is a succinct burst of joy that offers variety and depth, and that replayability enables players to invest dozens of hours.

LUFTRAUSERS is no exception, and it’s clear now more than ever that Vlambeer knows fun. Vlambeer knows engaging.

Like Ridiculous Fishing before it, LUFTRAUSERS is built on a simplicity. Piloting an airplane, aerial acrobatics and destruction are the chief components of the game, and depth is introduced with unlockable engines, bodies, and guns for your plane. Once all of these parts are unlocked, switching up the combinations of the three leads to wildly different ways to play (the different creative names for each freshly-cobbled-together plane are a nice bonus, too).

For instance, one of the airplane bodies drops bombs out of the back of your plane when you fly. However, the trade-off is that the health regeneration is slower.. Similarly, the most destructive weapon also is the slowest to fire.

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Though effectively limited to only one stage, the feel of the game is so addictive that–combined with the aforementioned customization options–it doesn’t feel tired. The continuing drive of the game for many will likely be the high score chase, but there are different achievements offered with each airplane customization, so that will keep the non-competitive types (like myself) equally appeased.

This is possibly the game’s biggest selling point–I’ve had problems in the past with games like Race The Sun and 10 Second Ninja, because they simply offer too little for a player like myself. I don’t care one iota about a high score; I’m the least competitive person I know. So seeing a game where the developer has taken players like me into account is nothing short of wonderful. It’s a simple concept, yet, so many miss it. Make a game fun, not just competitive.

Simplicity rules the other aspects of the game, too. While that one stage really only has one song, that song is a banger, worthy of any volume you can throw at it. The color palette of LUFTRAUSERS is also simple and subdued, which only highlights the fast-paced action.

LUFTRAUSERS is a sequel of sorts to a browser-based game called (wait for it…) LUFTRAUSER. It’s fun to go back and play that game now, but if you’re wondering if the new release holds enough for you, it’s a no-brainer, honestly. There are some developers that you can trust to get it right. And Vlambeer gets it all right.