Tag Archives: Snoopy Flying Ace

LUFTRAUSERS gives you the power to set the skies aflame

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Some of my favorite Peanuts strips revolve around Snoopy’s alter ego of a World War I flying ace battling the likes of the Red Baron or the Austro-Hungarian Empire high up in the sky, his doghouse an adequate stand-in for a time-appropriate biplane capable of intense dogfighting. I even found the Xbox Live arcade title Snoopy Flying Ace to be decent fun. Anyways, I’ve always been a big fan of when comic strips get imaginative, which is why it won’t surprise you to learn I eat up other strips like Calvin and Hobbes, Rose is Rose, and Big Nate. In many ways, Vlambeer’s LUFTRAUSERS feels a lot like these comic strips, where the real and unreal mix in a manner that can only result in bold, sparkling joy.

The premise to LUFTRAUSERS is simple: select a combination of parts to complete your Rauser plane, take off into the sky, and shoot everything that shoots at you. Don’t worry, it’s not confusing–everything shoots at you. Depending on your plane’s build, you’ll have different amounts of HP, but you can recover damage by not shooting anything for a bit. Each part–gun, body, engine–has its own set of missions to complete, such as blowing up submarines or destroying ten enemies while boosting, and you can mix and match your build to create the perfect plane for completing each task. I personally found the Nuke body to be perfect for taking down those nasty submarines post-death. Right now, I’m trying to figure out how to get the blimp to spawn, as many missions are locked until I can take one of those bloated airbags down.

Visually, LUFTRAUSERS has a minimalistic look, but it works extremely well, because once you are up and about flying around like a madman, doing loops over dozens of on-screen enemies, the flat, muted graphics help make each enemy and bullet pop whereas something more detailed might cause these elements to become lost in the action. The sprites get more detailed in the menu options, such as in the bunker or statistics, where an actual member of your team is standing there, watching your every move. There’s also tiny cutscenes as well, which will make you fondly think of your childhood SNES adventures. From the sounds of it, you can collect other color variations for the game, too, so if sepia isn’t your thing, something else might sink your battleship.

The experience of zooming up into the sky, dropping down into the water, and blasting everything in sight would be less of a thrill if the soundtrack wasn’t as killer as it is. For one thing, the soundtrack morphs based on how you construct your plane, so there’s both plenty to hear, plenty to see, but regardless of that, every song exists to pump you up about getting into some intense aerial combat–and it works. I can’t tell you the number of times I caught myself unconsciously bobbing my head as I played, only to realize how into the tunes I was after my plane blew up.

I originally played LUFTRAUSERS on Steam, even streamed it a bit as I figured out my setup for Extra Life, though that video is now gone from my archives, but the game is now a November freebie for PlayStation Plus subscribers on PlayStation 3. No surprise, but it plays the same on both systems, but this arcade-inspired “one more run” style of game is more enjoyable on the couch, so that’s where I’ll continue on with my dogfighting plans. Watch out, blimps–I’m gunning for you!

DEMO IMPRESSIONS: Snoopy Flying Ace

Peanuts characters and aerial dogfighting. It seems like an obvious and punny combination, right? Well, Snoopy Flying Ace, an Xbox Live Arcade game that is all about chaotic multiplayer and shooting down the Red Baron, puts it to the test.

Here’s the official game description:

“You can’t have aerial dogfighting without the dog! Join Snoopy, Charlie Brown, and the rest of the Peanuts gang in the premier online flight shooter on Xbox LIVE Arcade, Snoopy Flying Ace. With simple flight controls and a hangar full of customizable planes and weapons, all you need are nerves of steel to climb the Leaderboards and become a Flying Ace! Snoopy Flying Ace takes addictive, fast-paced airborne combat to new heights, with fantastic solo and co-op challenges testing your skills against the Flying Circus of the dreaded Red Baron. Remember, it ain’t the size of the dog in the fight… it’s the size of the fight in the dog!”

The trail demo offers up a bunch of missions to play, as well as some online multiplayer. The first few are more or less tutorials: learning how to fly your plane, learning how to speed up and make sharp turns, learning the different weapons you have at your disposal, and learning how to hop to the ground to operate anti-aircraft gunnery. Then, after that, you’ll have your first big fight against Lucy and a swarm of goons as you’re set to protect a location with all you got.

I have to say, and I was really surprised here, but the controls are fantastically sharp. You use the left analog stick to steer and direct, and the right analog stick is for flipping upside-down or rolling left/right to avoid getting shot. It handles like a dream, which is a simile I’ve never really understood, but I will just say it simpler then: it handles really well. You’ll be swooping this way and that, firing off rockets and bullets, switching tactics on the fly (more puns!), and you won’t really get dizzy or ever feel out of control.

Plus, you’re doing all of this with Peanuts characters. I can’t stress that enough. They are adorable as they blow each other to smithereens. Take that, General Lucy! Pew pew pew!

I basically only did the single-player missions, as the online multiplayer kept kicking me out. I’m sure that’s fun, too, and probably the true selling point of Snoopy Flying Ace. For 800 Microsoft Bucks, it’s a solid entry. At least give the trial demo a try.