Launched almost a year ago in digital format, Red Wings arrives today in stores thanks to Meridiem Games, who continue to bet firmly on the physical format, either on Nintendo Switch (they recently launched Oddworld Collection) and on PS5 or PS4 ( Terminator Resistance Enhanced).
Now it is the turn of an interesting air combat arcade that, as we will see in this Red Wings review for Nintendo Switch, is ideal for those looking for a game with two qualities: one that offers an approach for short games and with high replayable value.
As the title itself anticipates, Red Wings alludes to one of the most famous pilots in aviation, the famous Red Baron, a figure who took to the skies in World War I with the German side.
This detail already leaves the backdrop well established: the aerial combat of World War I, although unlike other games of similar cut, here everything is quite arcade and accessible, as well as being finished off with an attractive Cel Shading visual style.
The playable proposal of Red Wings revolves around three different modes. On the one hand there is the campaign, which is actually double, since we can choose both the Triple Alliance and the Triple Entente.
Each faction has its own missions and its own planes, so they are different … although the sensations playing are practically the same. In addition, each campaign has its own comic pages, vignettes that give some background to the story.
But let no one be fooled: here the History is purely testimonial, there is no political, strategic decision or anything: just a handful of pilots risking their lives in the air, leaving everything else aside.
That said, missions typically address all genre tropes: shoot down waves of enemy ships, shoot down specific targets (such as enemy observation zeppelins), protecting our troops, bombing missions of objectives or a kind of “races” that invite us to pass through certain checkpoints …
Little else can be done in the air, and especially in this era, when aeronautical technology was in its infancy. In other words, the historical and technological background of the time greatly limits the design of the missions. Even with everything the arcade approach is always present, even present in details such as floating rings that also recover fuel from the ship’s damage level.
Fortunately Red Wings control is as good as it is easy, which makes the action quite satisfactory and easy to catch from minute one: with the left stick we control the direction of the flight, while with the right, the speed; with R and ZR we shoot, ZL to zoom in on the sight and with L to make tighter turns …
Little more: there is no flap control, nor anything that makes it a bit more simulative. It is a direct and simple control. And if you are wondering what about the X, Y, A and B buttons? Don’t worry, we’ll get to that shortly, because they also have a use …
This approach of missions have in their favor that they are relatively short (some do not take 5 minutes), although they are highly replayable. Because, like many mobile hits, they have a 1 to 3 star rating system, that invite to replay them to achieve a higher score.
Here comes into play the time spent, the combo of casualties that we carry out (when we said that it was an arcade, it was for something) … The stars earned can be exchanged in our skill tree.
We have four special abilities, associated with each of the front buttons. These skills have a cooldown period, but we can use them as soon as they are available, and they help us in battle in different ways.
Thus, we can make barrels that make us momentarily invulnerable, make a quick 180º turn, call a squad to help us or, most impressive of all, shoot down a pilot with one shot. You can see the latter below these lines …
Apart from these four abilities, which have improvements such as faster cooling, there are others that allow us to improve the damage of our machine gun, its ability to pass through armor, increase the amount of fuel that we can carry (and that we can recover by flying through some floating rings) …
In addition, at any time we can reassign the stars earned to activate the improvements we need in a specific mission, which makes the action even more accessible. And the best of all is that the campaign is designed for a second player to join us locally and help us.
Our progress in the campaign also unlocks new types of aircraft (5 for each side), as well as special skins for each model (for example, with damage to the chassis).
Outside of the campaign mode that has about 50 missions between the two sides, there are two other game modes. “Survival”, which challenges us to shoot down waves of enemy planes and get the best score in the online ranking (that’s where the combos come into play) and Confrontation, which is for two split-screen players.
These confrontations can be played by sharing the JoyCon (that is, one for each player, losing control of the speed) and allow us to participate in three types of game: point battle (whoever reaches the limit set first wins), time battle (the one that achieves the highest score in the set time) or hiding (we must look for the opponent between equal planes).
We can define some characteristics, such as the point limit to reach (10,000, 20,000, 100,000 …) or, in some ways, if we want the presence of bots to help us, which also encourages the action with more planes in sight .
The problem with these modes, like the campaign, is that after the first few games, you have already seen everything and only repeated situations await us from what was seen before, with more resistant enemies, a new background scenario, with more waves of enemies. .. but little else.
Said wrong and soon, Red Wings is not a game that stands out for its variety. Perhaps more types of missions could have been designed, although in the same way, it is undeniable that where the game really shines is in air combat (We found the bombing missions slightly inferior).
Having said that, what has conquered us is the technical part: the cel shading feels that neither painted to the design of the airplanes or in the sequences like the shooting skill that we have shown before. Also, Red Wings does not backfire even when a lot of planes, gunshots and explosions come together on the screen.
The loading times, once the initial load has been exceeded, are almost conspicuous by their absence, and the art that illustrates the missions refers to the war books of the last century, with a very marked and satisfactory style. In general terms, visually it is very careful and has its own personality.
It also includes music that tries to transport us back to the time of the game (like the one we will hear on the radio from the main menu) and options such as motion controls have been introduced that, although they are not the most precise in the world, there are for those who like it. try this type of control.
As for the la physical edition of Red Wings: Aces of the Sky – Baron Edition, Available from July 2 for PS4 and Nintendo Switch, you can see its contents above.
It is presented in a special cardboard box, a kind of dust jacket that protects both the physical game and its two extras: a poster and a booklet with some of the illustrations that are seen in the game (comic and curtains between missions). You can see it below these lines …
For all this, Red Wings is a title that has all the ballots to please fans of aerial action. It suffers from the main defect of many games of the genre (little variety of situations), but it makes up for it with a good design of the action and features that are appreciated, such as the RPG touch of the skills or its scoring system.
But above all, Red Wings is the typical game that you can be returning to for months, because its short game scheme invites you toAnd that’s without the undeniable appeal of being able to share it with another player anytime, anywhere.