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 Post subject: Airheart: Tales of broken Wings (XB1 - PS4 - Switch - PC)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2019 8:54 pm 

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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 268
Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
More Shmup reviews just for you. Today's review is Airheart Tales of broken Wings.

No Man's Thunder Force II.

The story of this game puts the player on the role of Amelia, the daughter of a pilot in a floating island on the world of Granaria. Unlike Boiling Bolt's Scire, we know there's a surface below the islands. Back to the story, her father was looking for the legendary Skywhale which is the Moby Dick of this game, the capture that will turn the poorest man into the richest person on Earth. While Amelia's father failed to catch it, she's hoping to fulfill his dream and takes to the skies to catch it.

"There's a thin line between being a hero and being a memory."
- Optimus Prime (The Transformers)

As soon as we begin, the game gives us the option of selecting one of two difficulty levels: Skyfishing Pilot which can be considered your Easy or Normal game and Aviation Pioneer, This decision doesn't affect the achievement progression. However, you've gotta be nuts to pick Aviation Pioneer since this is like an Arrange Mode-like game done even worse, as the game takes any parts you've gotten with any crash, making Permadeath the least of our problems.

If you're wondering how Thunder Force II would look in 3D, well this is it.

The game is a open world Twin Stick shooter that reminds us a lot Thunder Force II, making exploration the main emphasis rather than finding objectives. Shooting down enemies will drop junk so you can collect to create new weapons or parts. You can also collect fishes which can be used as currency in large zeppelins where you can trade them for credits that you can use to buy weapons and plane parts. You can also attack those zeppelins and steal their resources, but you'll get a police plane after you. The game has an IFF-like thing that separates civilian planes from the enemies, and shooting innocent civilians can cause you trouble with the law. In this game, nothing happens if you shot down the cops, the police plane will reappear again if you shoot another innocent plane.
Curiously, you don't have to spend time hunting down planes and collecting trash, You can use a cheat code to get all weapons and parts instantly and unlock two achievements in one shot. Once you are in the level and able to move around press the following code: "Up, Down, Left, Right, LB, RB, B" Once you've done it right, you'll get a message telling you've purchased all the items, a few seconds later the XBOX will unlock their respective achievements.
Rather than having a traditional level sequence, the game's stages are divided in Sky Layers which can be revisited as much as you like. To access a Sky Layer, you have to enter a lift. But before accessing it you'll have to make sure there's no enemies nearby or elese the elevator will lock down until you shoot'em down. After a few layers, you'll encounter a boss. There's not too much boss battles during the game, considering the relaxed gameplay this game has.

As Crueltear use to say: "C'RNBUUUUURN!!"

The game as an Harpoon that works very similar to the Anchor Unit from Triggerheart Exelica, however you can't throw the locked enemies but you can make them crash with the environment. If anyone wanted to know how Triggerheart Exelica would look like without girls in swimsuits and leotards, then this game will give you an idea (¿Happy now, SJW's?). Jokes aside, you can use your Harpoon to immobilize your enemies, turn around and shoot them thanks to the flexibility of the Harpoon's wire. Or you can drag them to the base to dismantle their ship and use it for resources. The Harpoon is also a useful tool when you capture large sea creatures like the Sea Turtle, the Dodolphin and the elusive mini-whale Minke, this one grants you an achievement.

Just like in Pokémon Snap!

The game gives us the option of a Camera Mode. This is a very useful tool to watch all the enemies and secret "golden trees" within the Sky Layer you're located. It is extremely useful to locate the elusive Minke whale that gives you a reward and an achievement for its capture.

At least landing the plane is not like in Konami's Top Gun games where you had to adjust the speed like crazy.

Since the game doesn't have a "Stage clear" sequence, and all is based on climbing Sky Layers, and those only go up. So, one question remains: ¿How do i get back?, by pressing and holding down on the D-pad, doing this is required to survive and progress in this game. As you prepare to land you have to make sure you're on the "sight" to return safely. However, you have to evade the floating islands because crashing with them could result in damages or death if you have low health. Also, depending on how high you were flying, it will increase the length of your journey back to the base.

Does that cirled X means Amelia is a member of General Morden's Rebel Army?

Workshop is the headquarters where you can access the Hangar, the Workbench and a Shop, learning how do they work is required to succeed in this game.

Behold my newest creation: The Bastard Learjeghtning.

Hangar is where you can create your very own aircraft design using different parts and pre-setted color settings and weapons for whichever Frankenstein-plane project you've got in mind. So it's basically like the car customization in Rockman Battle and Chase. Keep in mind, some plane part combinations have special features like Item Magnets which attract nearby items to your ship or increase its speed or strength, so you can have a fast-but-weak plane or a flying tank that sacrifies speed for the sake of power.

You could have a recipe for a weapon or a recipe for disaster, just be careful when working.

Workbench is your laboratory where you can work on building parts to equip your plane like custom weaponry by using component and metal combinations. The obtained item will depend on what you're using in your experiments. However, there's risks of failing the project you're working in.

Like in the old SNES U.N. Squadron, you can buy either weapons or planes.

The game features a Shop in the style of McCoy's Storehouse from U.N. Squadron where you can buy weapons or planes. However you don't need to buy the whole plane, since you can build a custom one using parts from different planes. This comes in handy because sometimes, the only thing you need is a new engine or better wings.

"Dark blue. To the heavens and beyond."
- Avril Mead (Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown)

Graphically, feels quite weak for an XBOX One, PlayStation 4 or a Switch game, as the simple graphics reminds me of a phone app or an early days XBOX 360/PS3/PS Vita/Wii game, and i swear God that this game would run well on said consoles.
The character design there's not too much to say, it reminds me of Ladybug from Miraculous and Miko Nakadai from Transformers Prime. The cutscenes are the same thing as Raiden V, Strike Witches: Hakugin no Tsubasa and Triggerheart Exelica Enhanced; simple image with narrated text. I know it's an indie game but they've could do better.

The music is very calm and slow, like the typical "Home" and "Town" of an RPG, while there's moments where the music gains speed and a rhythm that reminds me of David Lanz and Paul Speer, mostyl the album "Natural States". However, there's a rock theme at the end credits. The game's narration by Amelia is no other than Kira Buckland, better known for her role as 2B/2E from NieR:Automata, which is the only memorable thing of this game.

- Sky Layer is wrongly written as Skylayer.
- Archipielago is the term used for a cluster of islands, or a sea with a number of scattered islands.
- Titan is the greek word for "Giant".
- W.H.A.L.E. obviously is named after a whale.
- Lone instance where Kira Buckland works in a shmup.
- Like Strikers 1945, Aero Fighters 3 and the ending of 19XX The War Against Destiny, this is a shmup with prop planes in space as the final level takes place in the edge of space.

If you're looking for a relaxing shoot-out adventure after all the intense bullet hells, then this is the game for you. Think about this game as "No Man's Thunder Force" where the exploration elements of No Man's Sky combines with the vertical shoot-out of Thunder Force II.
Fan of Transformers, Shmups and Anime-styled Girls. You're teamed up with the right pilot!
Bringing you shmup reviews with humorous criticism.

STG Wikias: Thunder Force Wiki - Wikiheart Exelica - Ginga Force Wiki

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