Luftrausers: An arausing experience
The best way to describe Luftrausers is to call it an old-school newgrounds game on a whole lot of crack. It retains all the simplicity and freakish replayability while honing every element to a level of godlike perfection.
Every single game you play is essentially the same. You shoot out of a nazi (presumably) battleship, fly around and blow shit up while trying to avoid getting blown up yourself. It really is that simple. No discernible storyline, no environments, and only one character – The death dealing hellcraft you’re lucky enough to be piloting.
The appeal mainly comes from kitting out your plane with a wide array of components you’re rewarded after completing certain criteria. There are 15 components in all, and every single one of the 125 possible combinations not only results in a plane with completely unique abilities, but also a totally badass name. For example, a combination of lasers, all-rounder body and superboost engine gives you the LASERKNIGHT, while kitting your plane out with a cannon, bombs and anti-gravity engine gives you the FIST OF GOD.
Each of these components has their own distinct advantages and disadvantages, and are never meant to make things any easier. They will, however, result in the player trying a host of different play styles before inevitably picking their favourite monstrosity and feeling guilty because they’ve betrayed their other 124 favourite children.
Now, I hate using terms like “emergent gameplay” because they make me sound like a douchebag and I don’t like that, but I really can’t help it here. When you tightly manoeuvre through a hail of bullets, find an ace pilot on your tail, pirouette out of the encounter only to be forced to dive into the ocean in a desperate attempt to dodge a swarm of gunfire from a nearby battleship which you then proceed to annihilate by again shooting straight out of the ocean through its hulking frame.. well, you just realise you’re playing something really special.
The real kicker is that Luftrausers surpasses even Hotline Miami in terms of sheer addictiveness. The complete absence of loading times (you can jump right back into bullet- hell heaven after being blown up in less than 3 seconds) and razor sharp controls mean you’re going to need to play this “just one more time” every single time.
If you’re still not sold, just find a way to give it a try. You’ll know I’m right when it’s 6 in the morning, you’re still playing, and realise you need to go to work looking like a meth head on the verge of a psychotic breakdown.