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 Post subject: Aircraft Evolution (XB1 - PS4 - Switch - PC)
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2020 7:11 pm 

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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 352
Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
You know the scenario: You had the worst week on the job, You can't go to a pub for a drink due to the COVID-19 situation. There's no NASCAR this weekend 'cos your cable TV's reception is on its worst that only afford clear reception to stone age-quality local TV shows, talk shows and 24 hour Infomercials. Top Gun: Maverick was delayed to the next year due to the pandemic, R-Type Final 2 was indefinetly delayed for the same reason, there's still no signs of Aleste Branch, Strikers 2020 and the PS4 releases of Ginga Force and Natsuki Chronicles and probably Rising Star Games died out without knowing since there's no news since the announcement.

With all odds against you, you decide to get some temporary escape and happiness in the good old shoot-em' up games. As you check your game list in the console and what's out there in the online store you'll face the "What to play today?" question. It'd be the classics like Blazing Star?, Aero Fighters 2?, Prehistoric Isle in 1930?, Boiling Bolt?, Triggerheart Exelica?, Raiden V?, Super Hydorah?, Darius Force/Super Nova?. As you are almost about to give up on that and crash on your bed, you find a new shooter. The only things you know is that the game is called Aircraft Evolution, the artwork only depicts a Conquest X-30-like jet with prop planes flying from an explosion implying its gonna be the wild ride that will lift you up with non-stop combat. So, you pay for the game and wait for the download to complete, as always you expect the best from every shmup you pick up.
Just when you thought your day couldn't get any worse, you'll realize it can go further in how bad a day can be: Being a shooter from Satur Entertainment (the same guys from the atrocious Stellatum) and Sometimes You (yeah, that's their name), comes this terrible horizontal scrolled shooter that doesn't deserve to be on any computer or console.

Feels like a cheap tablet app rather than a console game.

The idea is that you can move freely on any direction (think about Fantasy Zone, Defender and Boiling Bolt) while you take down your enemies. While you have a standard "pea shooter" as your main gun, you have the option of equip it with powerful bomb types. If you get damaged you can repair your ship on the fly by pressing the repair button and you have a speed boost that accelerates the plane's speed as long as the fuel gauge allows it to. Like the repair, you can refill the Booster gauge in the go. The gameplay mechanic sounds simple enough, but there's one big problem: The controls. Controlling the ship is the WORST aspect of the game because, unlike U.N. Squadron, Defender or any horizontal shmup you can imagine, Aircraft Evolution relies lifts/drops your plane in a curve as if you're going to make a loop by moving the Analog Stick up and down, even with the slightest move of the stick it will try to make a loop, and the only way to stabilize the aircraft is holding left or right on the stick, making you think if your controller is broken.

Dude, do you have some hours to spare?

The campaign, which is the main and whole game, is comprised of Eras that represents periods of time, each one has 10 levels for a total of 40 levels. But before going into the battle you can also go and make some adjustments to the planes or buy a new one.

The "Plane" icon is more than just upgrading your aircraft.

Although the controls are horrible beyond belief, there is some nice ideas, like the customization where you can buy upgrades for each aircraft. From Armor and speed to bomb speed and rocket damage, Rocket Damage only applies for some World War II-like planes and the modern aircraft. Like I said before, Rockets are part of the machine gun fire, adding additional damages. You can also select one of the three available color options for your plane, even if its a Wright Brothers-like flying machine it doesn't mean you'll have to fly a beige plane when you can fly a red or blue one.

What do you think about the Level 30 fighter jet?
I bought it just for today.

Buying a new plane not just require money, but also reaching a specific level, the reason of this is because they have unique configurations such as speed and shot types. Some planes have semi-auto shots with different fire rates, some have shootgun-like firing shooting multiple bullets with a low fire rate, and the most advanced planes come with rocket fire support and rapid bullet fire, causing more damages. The best combat plan is to max out the player level to 30 and then buy the best plane available.

The weaponry of this game is heavily based on bomb types. While the "Conventional Bomb" has unlimited ammo and it can be upgraded, you can buy other bombs in quantities that varies according to your total of credits.

CLUSTER BOMB (Available at Level 3): This bomb splits into a 5 bomb shot that damages a wider area. It needs to be dropped at a high altitude to make the bomb split. It costs 3 credits each bomb.
NAPALM (Level 7): Covers a large area with fire, making it effective against small ground based enemies like soldiers. Costs 8 credits each.
HEAVY BOMB (Level 15): Inflicts great damages on buildings and has a small blast radius, killing nearby enemies. Each one costs 20 credits.
SUPER HEAVY BOMB (Level 20): The special weapon of the game as it pelts with giant explosions a wide area causing multiple damages. This vulgar display of power costs 300 credits, so use it when its necessary.

This is the "Even Worse" version of Balloon Trip from Balloon Fight...

On each era you'll have a variety of objectives. "Reach the end of the level before time runs out" is a race through a minefield that reminds me of the Balloon Trip mode from Balloon Fight (if Balloon Fight was played with a control either covered in concrete or with a broken D-pad) with a limited time to do the job, forcing you to utilize the speed up and master the worst controls you can imagine on a shmup. "Destroy All Buildings" focuses on destroying structures like towers and buildings. "Kill All Units" means one thing: Destroy everything on the stage: Tanks, soldiers and buildings. "Destroy All Targets" will focus on specific objectives marked with a sight, this covers boss battles in stages 10, 20 and 30.

It's an Item Extravaganza in the bonus stage!, Pick all what you can until time runs out!

During the campaign, the game will grant you three bonus stages where the objective is to pick all the weapons you can get until the time runs out. The best strategy is to ignore the enemies and concentrate on the items, mostly on getting Super Heavy Bombs, that will save 300 credits that can be spent on a better plane.

You've found the Monsterwagen Panzer! Now, blast it out of existence.
Then head to the USS Sister Selma for refuel and resupply.

Every 10th mission, you'll be facing a boss that will require a lot of hits. Unlike the buildings which you can pass through them, you'll die if you crash with the boss. In the whole campaign you'll face an armored wagon, a giant Zeppelin and a military train, being the train the one which breaks with the typical boss standing in one place as it moves across the stage appearing on one side and then on the other one.

Exploitable glitch: Testimony that nobody tested this game.

If you finally mastered the controls, then check this out. You can go vertical offscreen and stay "static" above a building, allowing you to bomb it with low risk of being damaged. I say low because sooner or later the bullets will hit your offscreen plane. While this is an exploitable trick, is also a testimony that nobody tested this game before releasing it.

AWACS Crueltear to Phantom One, take that Imperial Walker down!
Its missiles are capable of hit both Sugiura Base and USS Sister Selma with a single attack!

This is your final boss, while the other Boss stages say "Destroy All Targets", the final stage is "Kill All Units" since the boss is counted as the rest of builings and soldiers on the stage.

Yeah well, I want my 3 or 4 hours of my life back!

Once you've finished the last mission and got rid of all the enemies in that stage, you expect a rewarding ending, or at least something decent. instead of a cutscene or credits, the game just sends you back to the Mission select screen with the message "CONGRATULATIONS! YOU COMPLETED THE MAIN CAMPAIGN OF AIRCRAFT EVOLUTION" on the upper part of the screen that lasts like 3 seconds. To put it simple, the developers didn't care about making a decent ending for this sorry excuse of a shmup. Like the Angry Video Game Nerd said on his review of The Karate Kid: "It's like coming out of a brutal fight. Being the winner but achieveing nothing for all your troubles. Just some bloody bruises and some broken bones".

With the gameplay said and done, the only purpose of Aircraft Evolution is to be another addition to the list of lame "Done on the cheap" Gamerscore Milkers that wander around the online store. If you're going for that 1,000 point hunt, here's a word of advice: The "Rich" achievement requires you to have the 5,000 credits in your balance since is not a cumulative unlike the 200 destroyed aircrafts / cannons / buildings.

If there's a word for the graphics is: MICROSCOPIC. Everything about this game is way too small, you can't appreciate the detailings of the scenery at the point that most of the time you'll be watching the sky as background rather than the stage, but the size problem is the worst with the enemies, the soldiers, in some stages they can be hidden by the ground in the jungle-based levels, making it a calvary on the "Kill All Units" missions.

Although the jets are original designs due to the lack of licenses, any eagle-eyed flyboy will recognize the designs of some of the jets due to their profile view, as the planes share some real world reminiscence: Level 18 plane is based on the Gloster Meteor, Level 21 is the de Havilland DH.100 Vampire, Level 24 is the MiG-21 Fishbed, Level 27 the MiG 29-Fulcrum and Level 30 is a forward swept wing F-4 Phantom II.

The music, uh...I can't talk too much about it. Not because I hadn't played enough, but because the music lasts for a few seconds and then the game goes music-less. As far as I heard, it has a suspenseful-action thriller like soundtrack that kinda reminds me of AIPD, but after 40 seconds or so, the music stops, so you'd be OK if you drop the volume down to zero in the Options screen and just play a few Ronnie Montrose songs ("Ready, Willing and Able" would be a good song to hear while playing).

- To obtain all the planes in the game you're gonna need a total of 20,900 credits.
- Each Era is based on history periods. Era 1 is World Ward I, Era 2 is World War II, Era 3 is a mix between Vietnam War and Kuwait (Operation Desert Storm) and Era 4 is an original one based on high tech futurism.
- The achievement name "Just do it" might be a reference to Nike's famous slogan.
- According to TrueAchievements, it takes 2-3 hours to unlock all the game's achievements.

Playing with this will be more entertaining than playing Aircraft Evolution.

Aircraft Evolution is a frustrating, unplayable mess that feels like a cheap (or free) phone app rather than a console game. Perhaps this might be the Worst Shmup of 2020. Honestly, you'd be better off flying a styrofoam flying glider plane than playing this atrocious excuse of a game.
If you're looking for the Highway to the Danger Zone of shmups, then this is not the game you're looking for. Even if you're a desperado urged for 1,000 quick Gamerscore points it's not worthy. Save your money and console space for a better shmup instead.

Where's Ginga Force when we need it?, Hope Rising Star Games is okay or at least Qute decides to port it to the XB1.

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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