Have you ever cursed your allies in a multiplayer game because they don’t seem to realize that teamwork is the most important part of success? Yeah, I have too. AirBuccaneers forces you to work as a team or plummet from the sky in a blaze of… shame. You’ll definitely still have those moments of frustration when the pilot of your ship decides to turn the wrong direction, but people usually catch on pretty quick.
The one criticism that I have for this entertaining piece of art, is that it took me a few attempts to finally figure out how to be a good Viking and actually play the game as intended. This might end up being a criticism that I can’t retain throughout the beta if LudoCraft changes their tutorial at all. For now, you’re stuck with text popups that explain what you should be doing, which are easily overlooked. No matter, once you get your bearings and stop sending yourself flying through the air with poorly placed powder charges, you’ll realize why that is the only legitimate criticism that I can come up with.
“I’d love to meet you in the skies piloting a ship all by yourself with no one to fire your cannons. That would be fun for me.”
Now that we have that nasty business out of the way, we can get on with the juicy stuff: aerial battles of epic proportions. The first thing you must understand before you start sending those mindless buccaneers to their fiery death is that teamwork is essential. On second thought, pretend I didn’t say that… I’d love to meet you in the skies piloting a ship all by yourself with no one to fire your cannons. That would be fun for me.
Okay, so you’ve got at least one brother in arms manning the cannons and you are at the helm; what next? Next is the elation that you’ll get when you see those massive flaming cannonballs smashing into the vulnerable balloons that carry your enemies through the battlefield. You’ll also want to get as close as you can to those puny pirates so that your attack Viking can light their fragile ships on fire. It’s so satisfying to see a ball of fire hurling at the ground because of your precision flying and unrivaled teamwork.
You might be thinking to yourself “I’m not the piloting type. I want to be the one dealing the killing blows with my massive… weapon.” Well, I have two things to say to you my friend: one, there is a dirty joke in there somewhere. And B, hop onto one of those mounted pirate killing machines and I’ll fly you to the fight. No matter whether you are in the driver seat or riding shotgun, just make sure that you communicate with your team and do your damnedest to ensure that those buccaneers have a swift flight straight to the dirt.
Alright, I’ve got the dramatic stuff off my chest, so I guess I can move on to the technical stuff now. You already know that cooperation is a huge part of this game, so when you start playing, make yourself familiar with the different hotkeys available to you based on your role. Just keep an eye on the bottom of your screen and you’ll see the convenient commands like “steer left” or “fire cannon.” Make good use of these so that you and your Viking buddies are all on the same scroll (see what I did there?) when it comes to combat. Communication is key.
You’ve probably already guessed that there are at least two different tasks that you can perform in AirBuccaneers, but there are a couple more to choose from. The two that you already know are steering the ship and manning the cannons. Steering is pretty straightforward with the traditional left and right, but you also have the option to use a boost that can help you dodge incoming fire or just get closer to those pungent pirates that want you dead. Manning the cannons also allows for the classics such as aim and shoot, but you have your choice of ammo, to include cannon balls, rockets, and good old fashioned fire which can all be boosted with different flight paths like zigzag and curve left.
If you find yourself on a small ship with no cannon open and someone at the helm, you can always run up to the bow of the ship and keep her repaired as best you can. Unfortunately, repairing can’t keep up with the damage done by the great balls of fire crashing into your ship, so make sure you don’t spend too much time at the bow during a fight. Instead of repairing you can whip out your very manly mine launcher and toss out some floating mines that will frustrate the bad guys to no end when they accidentally steer into one.
The typical aerial combat is a blast, pun intended, and is plenty of action for me to love this game already. There is another interesting, yet rare, occurrence that spices things up a bit. If you are lucky enough to have a great pilot who can get you right next to an enemy vessel without getting blown up, you have the adrenalin-pumping option of taking a leap of faith and cutting holes in them aboard their own ship. It feels like a scene straight from a Die Hard movie, and well worth the risk.
TL:DR? Check out our video review!
Since you decided to stick around this long and continue reading, I suppose I’ll go over some of the lesser exciting parts of AirBuccaneers. The Vikings and buccaneers were already mentioned a few times, and if you guessed that you get a choice between the two factions, then you are brilliant. Well, not really. Don’t get too excited Einstein. There is a long-standing feud between the two sides and your job is to poke holes in the ships that don’t match the color of your own.
The game is in a first-person view and the graphics are what you would expect. The world you fight in looks like a war-torn battlefield with an endless supply of battleships in the air. The ships in this world are big wooden blimps with at least one mounted cannon and a handy little wheel to help you point her in the right direction. LudoCraft did a great job of putting you in a world you’ve probably never been to before.
Another interesting part of the game is the way that achievements and experience were implemented. These aren’t anything we haven’t seen in other games before, but it is still quite satisfying to see a title next to your name letting everyone know that you are a demon behind the cannon. Experience levels you up which will give you new titles and eventually you can earn equipment and perks that will augment your character. The more time you spend in each role will earn you different types of experience and perks.