(Picture from the game’s Steam page showing a Spitfire killing German planes. Note the damage detail.)
I have recently come across this particular game released over a year ago, thanks to Indie Gala for this. Let’s get started.
This game follows the story of Dorothy Derbec, a.k.a. DeeDee, whose father Guillaume Derbec was lost in WWI, requiring her to live with his father’s squadmate Tommy. She’s the sky-bound type of girl: uneasy on the ground, at peace in the air. She smuggled liquor right up until WWII reaches Tobruk where she does her job. Carrying her last name Derbec, Dorothy inherited a lot from her father.
Due to her need for mechanics, she met Clive, a drunk aircraft engineer who can’t fly but knows all his planes. Due to her need for money, she had to fight in this war. After a particular war event, she changes her view of the war. Money fell behind in her list of priorities. Along the way, DeeDee meets more of her father’s old squadron, learning his heroic tales through their words.
Of course, since there are heroic tales of a former ace mentioned, there must be flashbacks. Yes, flashbacks are presented with sepia-filtered levels with the player taking the role of the storyteller flying in biplanes, fighting the old WWI with the Derbec Dad. This means two campaigns are alternated: WWII campaign narrated by DeeDee, and the WWI campaign by her father’s friends.
The writer did good job designating a woman as the main character. “But it’s the air force not infantry!” seems valid as an excuse to insert women into violent games, along with “But she’s Lara Croft!” The old squadmates also provide good expansion to the story, filling the story of the old ace piece-at-a-time.
This game plays more like a flying arcade than a simulator. The entire plane has just one “health bar”, except in some rare cases you might score a critical hit which results in instant kill. Fortunately, it works one-way. The game sports many plane models ranging from the WWI-era biplanes to Spitfires to Messerschmitts.
In single-player, you just do what the others tell you to. Yes, exactly. To the letter. Sometimes there are time limits, sometimes not. Just be quick, add some firepower, top off with finesse, then you win. Since I cannot find anyone to play multi-player with, I have to leave that part out of this review.
The game also features a small amount of stealth-based missions, which are quite fun but also frustrating. On the other hand, sometimes you do the searching, for ground targets however. In this case, the game presents you with hidden ground targets. It needs some getting used to, but is very easy in the end.
The two-linear campaign style keeps the player focused on the missions rather than attempting to maximize gains or capitalize on events, while the player is given a choice of planes to suit his/her play style. I am in favor of this, as the game does quite good on storyline development. It’s good game if you just want to fly without the need to watch all the instruments: the most complex thing you can do to yourself is stall to death, which can be easily avoided by increasing throttle.
Not quite good. While Air Conflicts utilizes the graphics card well, running on HDR and all, this game suffers a severe lack of model & texture detail on tanks and AA’s, which happens to be featured quite a lot in the game due to the need to bomb them. I do not appreciate cabbage-grade work, but due to budget level I will let it slide.
While the ground units are sub-par, the damage model of the planes are surprisingly detailed compared against the former, even though in terms of gameplay planes are “just one health bar.” The smoke caused by bombing and downed planes also look nice, at least from another plane’s distance (i.e. “the player). The plane is in the sky, so the ground might look a bit bad, but the sky is good. Reasonable. This shows that the development team did its prioritization well.
It’s traditional to review about sound of the game as well. While I play games, I do not really master the fine art of sound appreciation, let alone music. The compositions and effects are good but the narratives and dialogues don’t have enough appropriate emotions in the voice acting. They sound more narrated than acted, especially how each of Guillaume Derbec’s drinking-line in the game story, which I cannot tell you for it is integral to the storyline.
System Requirements and Purchasing
As stated in its Steam page (link above), I think this game requires a bit too much of a graphics card. This level of game should not require anything beyond Shader Model 2.0 cards, while AC requires 3.0. This requirement is reasonable however as the game uses quite a lot of graphic effects.
The game sells for $19.99 on US Steam, and for $6.24 or more (current price when writing this, along with other games) on Indie Gala VI . If you decide to purchase the game on Indie Gala you might find it worth the price, as it also includes other games, bringing the “perceived cost” of AC down to $3 or less.
So go for it, get the Gala pack. The entire package is worth even more.
Air Conflicts: Secret Wars is a nice game to play for the arcade fun and don’t care much about sub-par graphics and less-than-good narratives. It’s the gameplay and level designs that make this game fun and worth its (reduced) price. My final score would be 69/100, taking some points off for graphics and narratives.
Neither the entry author nor the blog are related to Games Farm (the developer), bitComposer Games (the publisher), Steam, or Indie Gala. All trademarks are owned by their owners and not me. The image used above should fall within fair-use as I use it to identify the blog entry as related to the game, no free images could be created as any screenshots of the game are also non-free, only one medium-resolution image is used, and the author has attributed the source.