One of the offerings from PlayStation Plus was Luftrausers by Vlambeer, a shoot 'em up from the skies with a unique look, at least in terms of what I've seen and remembered over the years, but at the time I downloaded it and left it alone. I'd come back to it at some point, I know I would. Why would I get a game and then not play it?
Finally, the time has come to pick it up, and for a good while I couldn't put it down. It's controls are dead simple and its physics - while not thoroughly obvious to me in the heat of battle, in terms of where I'd end up after a given input - have this floaty weight to them that reminded me of something I wish I had the chance to play properly...
Luftrausers feels like Asteroids.
|Source // Wikipedia, Hardcore Gamer|
Not exactly, of course. It's not a clone, but as we've learned from our quick trip through the 1970s, gaming is all about taking what's there and improving upon it, tweaking it for your own needs and in turn creating something that others will want to borrow from in the future. And Luftrausers should be borrowed from.
You control one ship, and that one ship can dart about the screen shooting anything that moves. In Asteroids you're a triangle, in Luftrausers you can customise your ship with different parts and weapons to create a ship that flies just the way you like it. The more you play, the more you unlock, and it's so easy to play that, much like Asteroids, your only obstacle is yourself.
Unlike Asteroids, your opponents fire back, and you've the ability to take hits and repair yourself in order to stay in the skies. The longer you're airborne, the higher your score will be. What's the penalty for taking too much damage and losing a ship? The chance to launch into the skies and try all over again.
Luftrausers wants you to keep playing. You're in the menus only so long as it takes you to decide on a ship part to try out, and if you're yet to unlock the next one, just keep launching and hit up the high scores. There are goals for you to focus on, such as down x number of ships in a round, giving you an idea of what you can pull off in the game, but if you don't read them, who cares? You'll bumble into them over the course of your gaming without too many problems.
As with many things, the more you put into it, the more you'll get out. Playing it on the PS Vita may even be the better choice, because it is a perfect game to pick up and play when you're not sure how long you've got to play something. If you're too good, crash, end the round, play it when you next have time.
Check out Luftrausers when you can - A great example of how you don't need much in order to make successful game, a lesson that holds true after more than 40 years of video gaming.