Curve Digital bring us Bomber Crew, without looking it’s fairly obvious what the game is about, but have they made it destroy the enemies or will it fall like a dud and get blown up by the experts. Time to strap on a bomber jacket and see what I can do.
There are 2 aspects to Bomber Crew. The pre flight decision making, and then the flight itself. Choose your crew, pick the ones that look the cutest and adorable because that will encourage you to keep them alive (see above, totally adorable). You can change their outfits, everything from life jackets to their boots. Once you are happy with your crew and you have them all looking like the Andrews Sisters then you can check out your plane. A brand new state of the art………. who am I trying to kid, it’s a dustbin on wheels with wings. Lucky to get to the end of the runway if you ask me. Next the briefing. Find out what you have to do here and then decide to either take on the mission or go and make a cup of tea and build up your British spirit a bit first. Grab a white scarf out the closet, put on your flying goggles and then tell your pilot to take off. As the name suggests, you control the crew, and not the plane so to speak. If you want something done, select someone and get them to do it. It’s kind of like The Sims Airborne Division, but with less automation of the characters. Follow the markers to get to your destination, and no lollygagging or you’ll miss it.
Follow the simple instructions in the tutorial and keep an eye on the hints at the top of the screen. Head to the target site and photograph it or bomb it, but don’t confuse the 2. You are a bomber, so these are your regular tasks.
Things turned bad for me as soon as the enemy was sighted. I lost the plot, I suddenly went from a calm and collected click here type player to a click everywhere in blind panic player. The controls are quite basic, but I failed to really grasp them. I spent too long trying to navigate rather than just control the team in the plane. In the end I accidentally moved the pilot and the plane, well lets just say it’s not a plane anymore. By the time it crashed I had gone from looking like Swiss cheese, to a colander and finally a sieve.
To be fair, the premise of Bomber Crew is very good. Rather than fly the bomber into action, you choose what the crew do. Get the first aid kit, repair the engine, drop the bombs etc… The trick with this game is to keep a cool head. Know where everything is on the plane, and move the crew accordingly. Do not panic! Whilst Bomber Crew is fun to play I found it just a little lacking in interest for me.
After the mission you get rewards so you can improve your flying dustbin or crew. Upgrade very carefully, I went for first aid kits and fire extinguishers first as it suited my style. All upgrades have a weight, so make sure you either upgrade your engines to cope or just choose light stuff. Once you upgrade your crew there is a slightly improved fear of dying as it would be money wasted. The more you improve, the better your chances are. The game follows the same principle all the way through. Your crew gain levels and new skills so ultimately become flying aces in their own right. Killing these guys off further in the game is most unwise. Get the rafts, the life jackets, the whistles, the flares and the speedos, do what you can to make sure they live to fly again. Make sure you save regularly as well.
Bomber Crew has plenty of chances for you to do things wrong. Keep your eye on the hints at the top of the screen (I may have mentioned that before). Mistakes are there to be learned from, and some are so silly you will kick yourself. the more you play, the more you realise that the game isn’t just going to be a walk in the park.
The graphics in Bomber Crew do the job. They are not going to be over the top spectacular take your breath away good as that isn’t what the game requires. The main emphasis is on the gameplay and the graphics provide a stable platform to play the game. A lot of what is on the screen requires imagination to fill in the gaps, but if you’re worried about that, then you’re not paying attention to the game. The characters are half ‘Lego’, half ‘Boom Beach’ and half ‘Mii’s, but very adorable. Keep them alive for extra satisfaction. The plane is about the size of Margate, so the fact that it flies is a miracle in itself. Might explain why it gets shot a lot. It’s just a size thing, I actually like Margate.
The audio in Bomber Crew whilst flying a mission give clues as to what is going on. It does the job, gunshots sounds like gunshots, flak sounds like flak, and engines sound like engines. The cutesy nature of the game means that an over the top sound track and effects would feel out of place. The birds tweeting in rural England gives a true sense of wanting a nice cuppa, and I must confess that I am currently sipping a lovely brew whilst typing this up, so mind control skills are good.
In my opinion Bomber Crew is actually a good game, but the downside is that bombers don’t really do enough to be that interesting. There is no doubt that it is fun, and it’s simplistic style means that it’s almost instantly retro. Unfortunately for me the game sits in the middle of the road area. I was hoping for good things as I like the concept, but I found it difficult to keep up with what was going on and remembering some of the more simple things. I played the missions, but didn’t really want to do more than 2 in a sitting as I feared that tedium would envelop me. It’s probably a game that I will play consistently, but not constantly.
Bomber Crew scrambles it’s way to a Thumb Culture Silver Award with 6 out of 10.