Games that put you in the cockpit of a fighter jet, bomber, or any other type of aircraft rarely explore what it’s actually like to handle all the complicated elements of flying. Usually it feels like you are controlling the plane itself instead of the pilot flying it.
Bomber Crew, from developer Runner Duck, provides a more strategic flying experience and has you control the different elements of flying a World War II bomber through the management of the crew. With navigation of various menus, you’ll direct your crew in tasks like shooting down enemy fighter pilots and repairing different parts of the plane that get damaged.
On PC, the controls are simply point and click where you switch between crew members as you give out different orders. The developers had to get a little more creative to duplicate that ease on console, “at first I thought it was going to be quite challenging but now I prefer the gamepad,” said Runner Duck’s Jon Wingrove. “Alongside finding an efficient way to move around the UI we slowed down time to help you navigate with the buttons and triggers.”
As expected, you’re fighting in the skies over France, Germany, and the UK - taking out air bases, fending off fighter planes, and doing everything possible to keep your crew safe. If anyone gets killed or the plane goes down, those soldiers are gone. You’ll need to start again with a different set of low level troops. Sometimes you’ll have to choose to abandon the mission in order to save your crew.
Back at the airbase you can recruit different crew members, upgrade equipment and skills, and customize the weapons and machinery of your bomber. As you progress through missions your troops, broken up into different roles like pilots and engineers, will gain experience making them better at their specific job.
Keeping your plane in the air gets incredibly difficult later in the game, as you take fire your men will need medical attention, engines will explode, and fires will break out. It’s cartoonish look with bright colors and simple environments can deceive you, since it’s actually an incredibly difficult strategic experience.
Bomber Crew released on Steam on October 19th, 2017 to positive reviews and a good reception from players. Runner Duck plans to bring the game to Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Switch later this year although no official date has been confirmed.