PN Review: Thorium Wars: Attack of the Skyfighter
Thorium Wars was a highly regarded DSiWare game. Big John Games is no doubt hoping this sequel does even better on the 3DS eShop. Being featured in Nintendo’s E3 eShop highlights trailer is a good start! Thorium Wars: Attack of the Skyfighter is a 3D space shooter that pits you against machines whom are aiming to eliminate humankind.
The game’s story is delivered via text, but it lacks fun characters, enjoyable artwork, or even an introduction that might’ve given it more punch. You can select from three different aircraft as you take on the Thorion’s and each have their own perks while offering responsive control. Outside of overheating threats, I’ve no control issues worth noting. The first mission acquaints you with all the necessary functions you’ll need to know. It’s always good fun pulling off barrel rolls!
Attack of the Skyfighter has some very good music. Each track fits the level it’s with, immersing you in the sci-fi tale. You can enjoy all of them in the gallery, an inclusion I always appreciate in games with nice tunes. Visually it may not wow you (environments are slightly sparse) but it’s solid all the same. It delivers a nostalgic feel which I can definitely get into, though some may long for a bit more flourish as it were. The 3D can help in that regard, but I found ghosting made it a distraction for me – a shame as it can help when gauging the distance of incoming missiles and such. If you’re able to not be bothered by it the 3D can be impressive at times, and the game runs very smooth even when it’s fully activated.
The colorful missions take place over a variety of locales. An outpost on a volcanic moon bathed in fiery red lava, twisty icy canyons or tunnels, floating islands in the sky, and others. My favorite is probably the domed city. However, while I enjoyed most of the missions, there are only eight total. In fairness, this is compensated somewhat by the games replay value. Medals can be earned on each difficulty setting (which you can change from mission to mission), and best times are also recorded for each. I’ve certainly enjoyed replaying missions – eight is still a bit lean though.
The cool machinery enemies are a mixture of drones, automated weapons, tanks, etc. I enjoyed being able to see each Thorion’s profile in the gallery. I do wish the artificial intelligence reflected more in the way of clever attacks however. Interceptors for instance will charge in lieu of shooting – they can slice through you which will mean instant failure. Supposedly they have a weak turn rate for balance, but I didn’t really notice much of a handicap. This AI makes the game’s end a bit lackluster also, as the last mission has many interceptors. Cramped tunnels, maze environments, no real final boss, and underwhelming ending don’t help either.
Overall I did enjoy Attack of the Skyfighter, but I can’t help but feel it could’ve been more. I wish there was bit more plot development, a couple more missions, and perhaps some AI tweaks. Nevertheless the game does offer plenty that I can commend. If you’re looking for fun aerial combat, silky smooth flying, and high replay value, definitely consider putting Thorium Wars: Attack of the Skyfighter in your sights.