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Android  header logo

Wings of Fury

For: Android

Bomb the base

Product: Wings of Fury | Developer: The Android Machine | Publisher: The Android Machine | Format: Android | Genre: Shooter, Simulation | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Wings of Fury Android, thumbnail 1
For creating waves of crashing nostalgia in gamers over the age of 30, Wings of Fury is as effective as keeping a mint condition Space Invaders cabinet in your living room.

The Android Machine’s title is a blatant rip-off of the identically-titled Wings of Fury, which first appeared on the Apple II and was ported to pretty much every home computer in the '80s, only with a slightly shiny, Flash-like paint job.

It’s just a shame the gameplay hasn’t been given such a caring tune-up, with the steep difficulty curve cunningly concealing a lack of content and minimal mission variety.

Chocks away

The World War II-set 2D shooter is a mile away from bullet-hell blasters, with a slow pace that demands you approach missions with care and diligence.

Your first hurdle comes with take-off: a process that takes a lot of its cues from traditional flight sims, with weighty physics that you need to defy by jamming on the throttle of your Thunderbolt plane and pulling the nose up the instant the wheels start to rise from the tarmac.

Movement in the air is handled with a simple virtual joystick that restricts you to soaring upwards, diving at the ground, or banking sharply to the left or right. There are no flashy barrel rolls or the loop-de-loops here.

Your first few goes will probably be as comical as Leslie Nielsen in Airplane, but if you’re prepared to persevere flying becomes more intuitive - even if it’s always fraught with peril.

We lost count, for example, of the number of times the plane’s undercarriage brushed a palm tree frond and crippled the engine, especially when we were trying to land at the end of a long and demanding sortie.

Such gut-punching incidents are a regular occurrence, so being given a trio of planes to complete each mission feels like a real blessing.

Watch the skies

But becoming a decent pilot is only half the battle. Once you’re in the air you have to lead solo assaults on enemy targets, with more objectives being added each stage.

You start off carpet bombing a single anti-aircraft gun, but soon you’ll have to contend with entrenched concrete bunkers and legions of soldiers capable of repairing damaged defences - not to mention deadly enemy fighters that are the scourge of the final levels.

Providing you account for the speed you're flying at, dropping bombs is a pretty straightforward way to clear most hostile forces. Firing machine guns and rockets, however, demands you fly diagonally at the ground - upping the risk of death by scenery.

And any damage to the plane causes an oil leak, which forces you to abandon attacks while you to limp back to the hanger for a fix-up job.

The harder difficulties also drastically limit the number of bombs and rockets you can carry, again forcing you to repeatedly return to base and stock up.

Rocky landing

This is where Wings of Fury makes its biggest misstep: even on the easiest difficulty, replaying the almost aesthetically identical levels dozens of times becomes the only winning tactic.

Yes, it’s rewarding to pull off a lengthy raid and return unscathed, but you’ll regularly worry that you might never see the glorious ‘All hostiles eliminated’ message and unlock the next level.

Casual players might find the sky high difficulty too much of a chore over the long haul, but old skool gamers are likely to be getting furious over these wings for weeks to come.
Wings of Fury
Reviewer photo
Paul Devlin | 12 March 2012
A solid, spruced-up clone of a 2D piloting classic that for ageing gamers, at least, will be as hard to put down as it is to play
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