Bomb Preview | MOUSE n JOYPAD

Bomb Preview



Dog-fighting games aren’t all that common. They never really were or have been either. Sure, there are flight simulators and modern jet fighting games (like the H.A.W.X. series) but not many with the old rickety planes from the WW2 era. The Industry as a whole seems to be geared towards modern warfare, with fancy auto locking missiles and new fangled gadgets. Then there’s games like Bomb, who don’t want to make a ruckus. They show everyone what they can do with a little imagination, and how to do it. They don’t need Lighting-Engine-9000 or Particle-Effects-v2.0 to make an entertaining game.

You play as Marcel Gatson, a pilot-for-hire who completes assignments for his clients to get money. That’s pretty much it. You have a light-hearted sidekick called Takeshi, who doesn’t do anything but take up half the screen with text while you’re concentrating. Overall, the characters are interchangeable with any protagonist duo from any game ever. That’s just a formality, as you aren’t here for that. You’re here for planes, fights, guns and explosions. Your missions start off pretty tediously, learning how to fly, delivering fliers to a remote island, that sort of thing. But soon, you’ll be shooting rivals and weaving in and out of others in no time. All dialogue takes place in text boxes, both in game and in between missions. One thing I found a little odd is the –END OF DIALOGUE– boxes whenever the conversations end. Evidently the text boxes weren’t the focus of the game either, as the game is hilariously riddled with broken English errors from start to finish. You can still understand from what the character is trying to say, but seeing them use the wrong words takes away from any immersion the game was trying to build. When being given a brief about scaring away a rival, you shouldn’t be chuckling to yourself because they spelt a word wrong, or used the wrong phrase for the situation. I understand this could have been made by a company who doesn’t have the firmest grasp of English, but surely you should hire one person who can speak the language you’re writing the game in fluently and easily. Luckily, these language errors are restricted to the story mode. For those of you who can’t wait for back story to start fighting, there’s a “Skirmish” mode, which tells you to pick a plane before pitting you against a computer controlled plane.

The planes handle… bearably. Many indie car racers have been leaning towards the realistic, heavier car movements (Beam NG and Next Car Game spring to mind) which is great. Bomb caught wind of this and did the same thing. Planes take time to turn depending on the speed you’re going, altitude is easier to lose than it is to gain, that sort of thing. However, Bomb placed too much emphasis on having weighty flying, to the point of sluggishness. If you’re even at half speed, turns still feel slow. This makes near misses with landscape a dangerous thing indeed, since even if you see it coming, your plane doesn’t turn sharply enough in time, and you’ll go down. This starts feeling cheap when compared to computer planes, which look much more nimble than yours. Perhaps it’s simply the plane I have, as you can unlock new ones as you play through the story missions. Luckily, most of your time is spent in the open air rather than close to the ground or near mountains so, for the most part, you can get away with slightly creaky handling.

The controls feel good even on a keyboard, which is especially surprising. I usually steer clear of flying games since the static keys don’t come close to the amount of control you have with an analogue stick. But they work really well. W and S control your throttle, while the arrow keys determine your pitch and direction. There are more complex controls if you want to learn them, but I got through fine with just learning the basics.

The weapons are a joy to use. If you choose to fly in the third person perspective, you’ll have a generic aiming reticule to indicate where your shots will fly once you’ve pulled the trigger. If you switch to the cockpit view, however, you can see how it would really be. You have a little circle on a stick just outside your window. While this makes things unnecessarily difficult for the player, I personally loved it. Games that try to do something different should go all the way, while still leaving room for those who may not be comfortable with the full experience, as this one has with the choice of first or third person.

The audio is slightly above average. It doesn’t offend anyone, but it doesn’t inspire greatness either. In fact the music choice seems a little out of place, with jungle themed tunes with what sounds like African drums, sounding similar to something out of the Jungle Book. While the go-to instrument for any war game (vehicle or otherwise) are brass instruments, with crescendos and timpani drums, it’s oddly refreshing and (even more strangely) fits quite well.

When games lack polish to the point of negatively effecting game-play, that’s a problem. When it has harmless little errors every now and again, it’s funny, endearing even. Honestly, Bomb is an interesting little title. It never takes itself seriously (and even if it did, we couldn’t) and the little quirks here and there just add personality and definition. For a low priced indie game, you get good controls, well-implemented mechanics for a genre that doesn’t get enough love. Sounds good to me, especially if you consider the fact that Bomb isn’t even completed yet.