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Sky Gamblers - Storm Raiders 2 Review: Dogfighting on a smartphone

The games is the successor to Sky Gamblers - Storm Raiders, which was released in 2012. Can this refresh set new benchmarks?

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Highlights

  • Sky Gamblers - Storm Raiders 2 is the latest in the iOS and OSX-exclusive game series from Atypical Games.

  • The premium game is priced at Rs 399 on the iOS app store and weighs in at 2.5GB.

  • The game is themed around World War 2, and features major battles including the Pearl Harbor attack in its campaign mode.

Flying can be an exhilarating feeling for anyone, even if you’re in the middle seat of a commercial airliner. A glance out of the window will put a smile on the face of even the most frequent flyer, and naturally the idea of flight is one whose novelty is far from wearing off. It’s a reason why flight simulator games have always been popular, now even more so thanks to ever-improving gaming capabilities of smartphones.

Today, we’re reviewing Sky Gamblers – Storm Raiders 2, a flight simulator game that puts the user in control of World War II aircraft in various famed missions. The game is the successor to Sky Gamblers – Storm Raiders, which was released back in 2013, and is developed by Atypical Games as part of the popular Sky Gamblers series. This latest flight simulator is available on iOS for smartphones and tablets, and we’ve had a chance to try it out with an Apple iPhone X. Here’s our review of the latest game in the series.

Going back to WWII

As a paid game, there are serious expectations from Sky Gamblers – Storm Raiders 2. For one, the Rs 399 price tag isn’t a small one by any means, and even paying this doesn’t unlock the full feature set in the game. You will have to purchase the all planes pack from within the game (priced at Rs 799) to unlock the full potential, but depending on how you play, you could skip this purchase.

The game itself has a handful of game modes, including a tutorial, campaign, custom games and online play. You can also freely pilot any planes you have unlocked in sandbox mode. While the single player campaign and custom games don’t need an internet connection and work as expected, online play is a bit hampered by the fact that the game is very new and doesn’t have too many players participating yet. This could improve over time, but premium games tend not to have too many users on board for a few months after release. If you’re lucky, you can find a good online game to take part in.

The core theme of the game is World War II, similar to Storm Raiders 1. All of the aircraft in the game are based on classic planes that operated in the Second World War, covering the air fleets of Japan, France, Germany, Great Britain and the United States. The locations are also popular settings in the war, including Dover, Pearl Harbor, the German Alps, Norway, Russia and Africa. All in all, the developers have done a good job in setting the theme and recreating the atmosphere of the biggest war in human history.

Game modes

The game’s campaign mode isn’t a long one, featuring only 12 missions that will last about 15-25 minutes each and with increasing levels of difficulty. Different missions put you in different situations, with you fighting for all of the major powers at some point or the other. You’ll be put in the pilot’s seat of key British, American, Japanese and German aircraft as you take on missions of historic importance.

The game does try to stick to the historic results, and even missions in battles that were historically lost by a side will see you trying to salvage small victories. A big example of this can be seen in the very first mission, where you take on the role of an American fighter pilot defending Pearl Harbor, a battle that saw the Japan inflict huge losses on the United States while bearing relatively small losses itself.

If you play the typical single player custom game, you can set up the objective and play against AI players generated by the game itself. You can even choose the setting and aircraft, and take part in some good old dogfights. Once you’ve completed the campaign mode, you’ll find yourself relying on this to get the most out of the game.

Controls and Graphics

Coming a good few years after the last releases in the Sky Gamblers series, the latest game improves significantly in the departments of graphics and controls. Taking into account that iOS devices are significantly more powerful and capable today, the game comes with considerably better aesthetics. From the environment with its moving parts, to the ability of the world to react to your actions, to weather and light elements, everything is dynamic and beautiful for a smartphone. On the Apple iPhone X, performance was top-notch.

Controls can be either tilt-based on on-screen, and I personally liked the ‘simulator’ controls the most. However, users might prefer on-screen d-pad controls, since this takes away the need for proper gyro and accelerometer calibration, and makes it easy to play the game while sitting down. Using tilt-based controls does make the game a lot easier to play, since it keeps your thumbs relatively free. The controls are easy enough to master quickly, and helpful given that you have the small screen of a smartphone to work with.

Verdict

Flight simulators have typically been the domain of PCs, but the Sky Gamblers franchise has succeeded in bringing quality to smartphones as well. Although it isn’t as much of a simulation as it is a good old-fashioned arcade game, Sky Gamblers – Storm Raiders 2 succeeds in adding elements of fun along with quality graphics and engaging gameplay into the idea.

While the game is a bit expensive, it makes up for it through pure quality in graphics, dynamics and general fun. A more extensive campaign mode is perhaps the only thing lacking here, and with time, hopefully the online gameplay will improve. However, it’s a fun game that I’d recommend if you’re willing to put down Rs 399 for the initial purchase.

  • Published Date: November 29, 2018 9:58 AM IST