A dieselpunk airplane action game is upon us. Providing rouge-lite mechanics and high-octane twin-stick shooting that is sure to make your heart racing with battles against pirates from small planes and turrets to something as huge as fortresses. The game gives enough flare to keep you hooked with crafting elements from advanced materials into full-pledged fighter plane parts and weapons. Blindflug Studios, the team behind the mobile game Cloud Chasers come forth with an all new original game and one that highly resembles it. The father and daughter duo, Francisco and Amelia are Cloud Chaser’s main focus of the game as they try to survive in the endless desert while trying to gather resources in the wasteland and water from clouds using your glider that controls similarly to Airheart. So anyone who’ve actually played the mobile game would feel at home controlling your newfound ride!
Our protagonist, Amelia which not to be confused with Amelia Earhart – the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, is a young pilot and fisherwoman of the high skies that wishes to reach the abundant world’s edge. A few years have passed since she parted ways with her father Francisco and continued to live a life in the underside of the skylayer, Granaria that is filled with vast floating islands layer upon layer. But living a life under a floating rock is of no fun and games with a low-pay, high risk sky fishing no thanks to the aggressive pirates that roams the upper layers. But with the stories of the skywhale nesting in the top that is said to make anyone live a life of luxury to those who catches it, Amelia sets her sights into catching this nefarious beast. So it’s time to bootstrap yourselves in a world of fighting pirates and harpooning sky-fishes in order to build your OP-plane of mayhem and destruction.
The gameplay mechanics is very engaging and casual-friendly. You have your twin-sticks to control your plane and aim your weapons or harpoon with a dedicated button to use your plane’s active skill, switching weapons and a return to base button whenever you’re low on health. This makes the game very approachable to newcomers to flight-based combat in an overhead shooter perspective. But what makes the game really shine is the vast ways you can approach certain levels and objectives. Certain planes provide unique passive and active skills like a passive laser sight skill which makes shooting easier or a protector passive that nullifies any damage when taking bumps and contact from every angle. There’s also a fish or enemy radar depending on what you plan on doing in a particular run. When it comes to active skills however, there’s your average boost skill, rage, reflect etc. Although the thing I found a bit annoying is there’s no way of knowing what some of the skills do without trying them or looking at external means like the internet.
Gathering materials and crafting parts and weapons play a big role in the overall progression system in the game. It’s not just an added feature per se, but your bread and butter as they unlock exclusive weapons that cannot be earned by throwing a boatload of oil barrels in the in-game shop. Blowing up a pirate’s plane to smithereens is all fun and good but it’s not the only way to gather crafting materials however, as there is also an option to penetrate their interiors with a long and hard harpoon up their posteriors and drag them back to your base for salvaging which is the same way you do to high value fishes. Although at some point it gets very old and repetitive as climbing back to the upper layers is never fun and unique. The world of Granaria isn’t at all procedurally-generated thus making each climb to higher layers the same and finding the way is more on memorizing the coordinates of where to go up than exploring a brand new field everytime. It makes the climb a simple one but also not a very fun experience. Then again, it does provide a very vibrant and colorful set of floating islands with a vast collection of unique fishes, seasonal-centered skylayers and enemy types to completely make your way upward slightly less of a chore than it sounds without a waypoint or shortcut feature included.
Granaria contains boss fights from huge ships to something completely different and all of which provides a certain level of challenge and mechanics but for the most part can be done with a huge barrage of long range weapon attacks from a distance. With that kind of premise, it’s not a complete cakewalk either as I get completely massacred every single time on the third when drones strapped with a lightning cannon gets close. But for me that’s pretty much the usual thing going on when it comes to rouge-lite games as I have never finished a single one even after spending quite a few hours in with most upgrades already done and crafted.
Characters are voiced and by that I mean Amelia the only character and narrator in the game is fully-voiced despite the very few scenes it involves which is acceptable. Since the game is more focused on the gameplay, it does itself some justice by including a well-balanced soundtrack that never gets too out-of-place and still gets your blood rushing in some instances. Sound effects are spot-on and close to realism but then again, I’m not a very good judge when it comes to gunshots especially the really fictional laser beams and the like.
The game is fun and provides a nice balance of action and crafting. Most stuffs being easily crafted in later layers while the lower levels provide ample enemies for salvaging the basic necessities. Crafting new items has that sort of surprise factor mixed in as there’s no actual recipe to know which items need to go together unless you explore outside sources. It does however provide certain level of common sense to see which makes the most logical decision to craft certain parts as well as color coding to know how many parts of each type is needed. You either like it or hate in which case I end up loving the idea. It can get very overwhelming at first yet it managed to pique my interest as new and unique weapons gets added to my collection. Despite my hate for death in rogue-like games it’s the rewarding crafting mechanics that manages to keep me hooked. [A Noob’s Tip] Close the application when your health reaches zero.