As a former member of the armed forces, I take great interest in war-inspired video games. I especially enjoy WWII games, and I love air fighting games, too. So Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders is really a combination, in theory, of everything that I like in a video game. And to a degree, it is. Sadly, a less-than-perfect execution leaves room for improvement. Let´s analize this WWII
There is no shortage of content here, though: there are three main single-player campaigns divided into the three main theaters of the conflict for air warfare: the Pacific, the US-Japan conflict (including Pearl Harbor), and the Battle of Britain. There´s a ton of planes, too, from Stukas to Zeros to Mustangs, and heavy bombers like Flying Fortresses. This is where the cracks start to appear, though: while there are planes aplenty, they all behave too much alike. All the fighters feel equally fast and nimble (though the Zeros in the Pearl Harbor campaign did away with me a few times). Even the bombers feel a bit too fast. But this is oriented toward an arcade experience overall, though, so you can´t knock too many points for that.
The presentation is very nice, with graphics in general, and aircraft model in particular, looking really, really good. The frame rate is quite steady, and the menus look crisp and legible (unlike, surprisingly, some other Switch titles in which the letters were muddled or too small to read).
The music, however, is one of the weakest points of the game: there are places in which the looping is so short, it feels like only two or three measures of music are being used. It gets really repetitive really quickly, and if you add to that the fact that there´s no voice acting at all, you really might as well be listening to some Winston Churchill speeches while you´re fighting them on the beaches.
What little story there is, is told through text boxes that sometimes pass by too quickly. If you´re remotely familiar with WWII as a conflict, though, you´ll know where you stand straight away.
There are also deathmatch modes, multiplayer modes, and a whole host of other stuff to do in the game. As I said, the game is really not short on content, and if you´re gripped by the gameplay, you´ll find a lot of stuff to do in Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders.
Speaking of the gameplay: as I mentioned before, it´s an arcade game through and through. After inverting the Y axis, I was back in the 90´s playing on F-22 Raptor on my old 486-based Win 95 machine. It´s really enjoyable, easy to pick up, and intuitive. The controls feel good and responsive. Of course, as it´s mostly a dogfighting game, those who get dizzy easily need not apply, and if you´ve got someone watching you play, you better have a bucket handy.
As a final note on the gameplay, I must admit that the missions got same-y somewhat quick: take down the enemy planes, protect the convoy, bomb the convoy… and that´s your lot, really. There´s no underlying story or that much variety in the gameplay, aside from the dynamics of each aircraft which, as I said before, don´t vary that much.
But don´t be mistaken into thinking that I didn’t like the game; it is by no means perfect, but it is a very fun WWII dogfighter in the vein of classics of old, and people looking for a good looking pick-up-and-play experience on the Switch will get a lot of bang for their buck with Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders. There´s really nothing else like it on the console at the moment, so if this is a niche you´re part of, this game is a must have.
Lover of portable gaming and horror cinema. Indie filmmaker and game developer. Multimedia producer. Born in Paraguay, raised in Canada. Huge fan of “The Blair Witch Project”, and “Sonic 3D Blast”. Deputy head at Vita Player and its parent organization, Infinite Frontiers.
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