Title: Airheart - Tales of Broken Wings
Genre: Action, Shooter, Shoot-'Em-Up,Top-Down
Modes: Single-player/4 player party mode
Developer: Blindflug Studios
Publisher: Blindflug Studios
Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC
Release: January 31, 2019 (Switch Release)
Airheart tells the story of a young pilot, Amelia, and her journey as a sky angler with dreams of one day capturing the mythical and elusive Skywhale in this steampunk tale. As a pilot (and mechanic) you work on crafting the best planes and weapons to reach the goal of being the best. But fame and fortune isn’t so easily achieved as you’ll often be face to face with the dangerous sky pirates.
The Tip and The Top
Airheart is a roguelike twin stick shooter set in a steampunk-like world. The visuals are gorgeous as you take the plane through the different levels while catching fish and avoiding pirates. As you make your ascent, you will notice little details like planes flying around in the levels below you, or a plane crashing and burning as it descends through each tier. This game is beautiful on the Switch, but it would have been neat to see this on the 3DS.
The music is absolutely superb. As you start out in the lower levels, the music is subdued and tranquil, but as you get higher, the music becomes much more intense. The music has a western or folk feel to it, and it fits so perfectly in the game.
Airheart marries risk and reward really well too. As you go out fishing, you gain resources that you can use to purchase new parts for either your plane or weapons. Eventually, you’ll fish out the level, and you are forced to ascend to the next one. As you go up in levels, the perils become more dangerous which forces you to decide to keep fishing or to head back home with your spoils. Crash and you lose what you earned. The game also incorporates crafting, which allows you to create parts of your plane or weapons from parts that you collected from defeated pirates.
The Flip and The Flop
One thing to note is that the difficulty ramps up fast. After you beat the first boss, each level after that becomes more and more difficult with eventual swarms of pirates trying to get you. In the first couple of levels you feel like you are making great progress, but with as many pirates as there are, the later levels slow down your progress, as you’ll find yourself returning home before you really felt like you got started.
As gorgeous as the game is, the UI comes with some trial and error. You’ll find huge zeppelins flying around, but no real explanation on their purpose. It’s not until you experiment and interact with them that you realize that they are basically vessels where you can dump your resources you got from fishing so you don’t lose those them if you were to die.
Crafting is also trial and error. While there is a brief tutorial on how to craft, it says nothing about recipes and what you can combine to make certain items. Thank goodness there are some really great Steam sites that spell out crafting and provide recipes on how to make certain items in the game.
Final Grade: B
Overall, Airheart - Tales of Broken Wings is a fun and challenging roguelike twin stick shooter that incorporates resource management and crafting. Even with the short falls of some of the UI issues and crafting lacking much direction, the game is fun to play. You may find yourself frustrated with the difficulty that quickly ramps up, but each run is short enough that it doesn’t become overly tiresome. Airheart is a perfect fit on the Nintendo Switch, allowing you to pick the game up for short bursts of time to complete a resource run.
Review copy provided by Blindflug Studios