Version Reviewed: 1.07
Device Reviewed On: iPhone
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During World War II Winston Churchill once said, “We shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air.” A sentence which Bitmen Studios have tried to encapsulate in their latest release, Air Force vs Luftwaffe, which allows you to take part in a battle of the skies from both an Allied and Axis point of view.
Unlike most flight games on the market where the camera would be positioned either behind, inside or above the aircraft, Air Force vs Luftwaffe takes the rather interesting idea of using a side-scrolling aspect, and it works really well. Tilting the device left causes the plane to ascend, while tilting to the right points the nose down – tilt for long enough and your Spitfire, Hurricane or whichever of the many aircraft on offer being controlled, will loop around in order to fly in the opposite direction. Mixed with on-screen buttons for firing weapons, dodging attacks and turbo-boosts, it's a control scheme that works well, albeit leaving the screen a little crowded.
As mentioned, there's a large number of aircraft available that are unlocked by earning XP throughout missions. Missions which are varied and include dogfights, air-to-ground bombing runs and intercepting enemy bombers. There's loads to do, with lots of upgrades to unlock, different missions and aircraft for the Royal Air Force and Luftwaffe, as well as OpenFeint achievements, all of which offer a nice incentive to come back for more.
There are a few little niggles, most of which are purely aesthetic: the visuals aren't amazing, machine-guns fire very slowly, on-screen dials take up valuable screen-estate (for very little gain) and the turning mechanic means that whenever flying from from right to left the plane is upside down. But, these gripes are definitely outweighed by nifty little inclusions such as aircraft stalling during a steep climb and a nice 'Kids Mode' that can be enabled, saving anybody that tilts the device too enthusiastically from hitting the deck. Although even with this enabled I'd not really call the game suitable for kids, the difficulty level is still fairly high.
It's certainly pleasing to see this mix of real-life aircraft and scenarios alongside a more arcade-like gameplay style. Flight-simulation fanatics may be a little disheartened by this, but it's certainly a lot more suited to the platform the way it is. With a little practice and patience (and a good look through the detailed but somewhat convoluted tutorial) satisfying manoeuvres, such as purposely stalling to decrease an aircraft's turning circle, will ensue – and it's a lot of fun. On the other hand though, those wanting to jump straight in and play immediately may want to look elsewhere.