Shooting game Aces of the Luftwaffe gets new campaign and plane

You might not think that the shoot-em-up genre and the free to play business model would mix all that well. Yet somehow German developer has crafted a shmup called Aces of the Luftwaffe that is both fun and free. Set during World War II and featuring a charming retro art style, Aces will instantly appeal to fans of the genre and especially Capcom’s classic 194X series of shooters.

Handy Games has just updated Aces of the Luftwaffe with loads of new content and fixes. Head past the break for a trailer and our full impressions of the new content.

New Campaign: Night Over Europe

To play the new campaign, you’ll need to plunk down 750 medals (the game’s currency). If you’re new to the game or just don’t have that much scratch, you’ll need to either grind for a while or make an In-App Purchase to afford the set. The medal packages are actually pretty cheap, so at least you won’t have to break the bank if you’re dying to try the new content.

Like the three previous batches of levels, ‘Night Over Europe’ includes three full levels and a boss stage. These levels take place at dusk and at night, giving them a unique look compared to past stages. You’ll encounter a fair number of ghost enemies – glowing planes who fill the screen with bullets and can withstand more than their share of firepower.

All of the enemies in ‘Night Over Europe’ put up a mean fight, in fact. Shoot-em-ups are a challenging genre in general. Shmup fans often prefer a sadistic level of challenge.

Those guys will feel right at home in 4-3 when having to navigate between mine fields while dodging enemy fire. The catch is that if you shoot a mine very much (you can’t move without firing) it will explode in a hail of bullets. The dense minefield and mass of enemies can make mincemeat of even a fully upgraded plane. At least the game allows players to purchase a single extra life should they go down – for 100 medals.

‘Night Over Europe’ culminates in a battle against the less than friendly Commander Meiler. His plane fills the screen with bullets, though skilled players should be able to weave through most of them. Meiler also has a tendency to leave the screen and then fly at the hero from behind.

New Pilot: Tykers

Should the new levels or past ones prove too challenging, the new pilot might help. Tykers flies the P-59 plane, which can be unlocked for 400 medals. After purchasing him, players can use Tykers in any level of their choosing.

Tykers essentially acts as the game’s “easy” mode. His upgradable abilities make his plane smaller and harder to hit and even provide a health boost when enemy bullets almost graze the plane. It should be fun to replay levels with the P-59 and see how it performs compared to the other two planes Aces currently offers.

Take to the skies

Free to play games are tough to get right due to their need to entice players into spending money. Aces of the Luftwaffe never puts too much pressure on the player to spend, though it does require a lot of grinding for plane upgrades. Shooting game fans looking for challenge and replay value should have a blast.

Handy Games tells us that another content update is already in the works!

Paul Acevedo