Right-oh Aces, Spiffing of you to come along. Hit the bean shooter an’ you’ll be Bomber Crew in the morning!
With help of the good old 1930’s slang dictionary on Google, it made absolutely no help as I embarked on a new $1 Million grossing -1942 shooter from Runner Duck.
The idea of Bomber Crew is quite simple. Fly the plane, Shoot the fighters, Bomb the targets, Get home. It sounds repetitive, but with each slight variation of the mission it is quite addictive. You are so quickly immersed though that you are now well passed the Steam 2-hour refund window.
First but foremost… the advert from the developers…
Starting with Rag-Tag Green Recruits
I remember when I did my first days work. I put on the last crimson blazer with black lapels that I would ever wear (seriously – it was that bad) and wandered off to work at a cinema.
These fool hardy Level 1 recruits, with less collective experience than a schoolboy working the back row of the picture house; are all you have. They must take a Lancaster bomber across the channel, to save a spitfire pilot downed in the drink of the English Channel.
You can guarantee that such an easy task of ‘bombing’ the downed pilot with survival gear is going to attract the attention of Fritz and the Jerrys.
Get Geared Up
Get the right crewman the right gear, with the right training, out on a mission double-time.
You will be foolhardy to fit the pilot out in plimsolls and a blue beret, or forget that the tail gunner needs help to reload. There is no right answer, but there are plenty of better options as you use cash from each mission .Upgrade the old or kit out the new as a succession of new recruits replace the ones you have…. well….
Completing That First Mission
You will quickly find one thing, engage the enemy and don’t look back. You don’t have time to look back. It does not matter which of the missions you take, they all involve finding and shooting down the enemy pilots!
You will then realise one of the complications of the game; just how hard it is to do everything! Interaction within your bomber crew is point and click. Click on your crewman, click on what you want them to do. This is all well and good, except for one small problem:
Welcome to the Flight Control (at fear of calling it a ****pit)
There are five crew positions at the front of your Lancaster.
When something breaks, it is the engineer’s job to fix it. His skill is that he can fix anything quicker than any other member of the crew, although anyone can fix it…. oh how many times has the plane free-fallen from the sky because I have mis-clicked a few pixels too far and dispatched the pilot to the engine on the wing.
So having 5 members of bomber crew a few pixels apart means you have to multi-task and be deadly accurate. Thankfully in recent updates Runner Duck have added hot-keys for all the crew. The Pilot is always number 1, the engineer is always number 2 and the bomber, in the front gun turret (right on the picture) is number 7.
Finding Your First Victim
Tracking the waypoints of the mission is the job of the navigator, if they are still alive, or the person standing in for your fallen comrade. Tracking the waypoint though is a useful way of getting ready to track the fighter pilots around you as it shows how fast the tracking happens.
As long as your navigator can see the ground all is good and you can head in the right direction. Lift up to mid and high altitude flying however and the navigator complains he can not see anything, while the pilot complains that he needs a new navigation point.
When you are finally caught up by the enemy, the intuitive radar system warns you of their general direction until you lock onto them with your tracking; then you only really lose sight of them when they are crashing, at speed, into the ground, riddled with bullet holes.
Dropping Your First Bombs
Not surprisingly, bombing runs feature highly in this new game called Bomber Crew.
Moving your bomber between the front gun turret and the bomb bay after taking out the fighters is key. You have to remember to load a bomb and open the bomb bay doors in time before you are getting the Flight Officer to fly your bomber crew around again.
An increasing succession of types of bombs and how they work comes as you work through the campaigns. Bombs, bouncing bombs, when are the Nuclear Bombs?
In order to progress along the seven campaigns you have to successfully complete the critical mission.
Well…. I say successfully…. you don’t have to come back alive….
The critical mission is just like the end of level boss. The enemy is more plentiful and you will imagine they are far more powerful. The mission has red herrings and twists and turns.
It took me a few failed attempts – and some help on one of my streams – to realise that I was doing critical missions wrong. Many wasted crews later and you find that in fact you are not bombing the missile silo that launched the missile; but blowing up the missile before finding the other silos.
…and it’s back home for supper
When you are done, it is time to head for home. The next challenge is getting back to the runway at just north of London – sort of Milton Keynes way – and making sure that you get there.
The German fighters are still tailing you over the channel, you have just got through the barrage of ground fire and you battle hardy crew are now feeling the cold while you cruise at high altitude.
Eh? Wheres the wheel gone? It got shot off with number 2 engine? Never mind, we can still try to land on one wheel…. or we can crash land…. no guarantees we will survive!
Bomber Crew is a great game – but….
There are some things that really bug me.
Firstly it is so very repetitive at times. The variation in the standard missions of the campaign are shoot some fighters, bomb something or bomb drop some supplies, take a photograph of a building for extra points and get home.
That being said, the difficulty of those missions increases at the right amount to keep you challenged, but not to make you complain that you are failing too many times.
Runner Duck have listened to some issues though, they have introduced assists like a “slow down” feature which allows you to enter the Matrix and slow time down just for a moment so you can assign that repair task just in time. We have also already mentioned the hot-keys; updated so you can select your crew more easily.
I really looking forward to the next batch of updates if that is anything to go by. Are there new bombers in the works? Will you get co-op with an invasion fleet Critical Missions? Baring in mind, as we already said, that it took $1 Million in it’s first two weeks…. you can hope for a little dedication!
I can’t wait to find out. But first we need to honour those sprites that gave their lives for the review.
Bomber Crew is available now, on Steam.