Years ago, there was a game on the Apple //e called Choplifter. As expected on such an early game, it was a simple game with simple graphics, and a simple premise. The premise for Dustoff Heli Rescue is the same one: You are flying a helicopter seeking to rescue hostages in a war zone. While the Choplifter had a somewhat sci-fi feel with the look, and you had direct control over many of the weapons, as well as how you faced your helicopter, Dustoff takes things differently. You are definitely in a specific conflict, the Vietnam War.
However, it would not be accurate to say that Dustoff Heli Rescue is a spiritual successor to Choplifter. You aren’t just picking up forces on the ground or hostages running from burning buildings. Sometimes, with your AI controlled weapon, you are actually rescuing the hostages from moving convoys, grabbing them from a pen surrounded by pillboxes, and other times you are grabbing field equipment and returning it to base (all this while having an art style very similar to Minecraft). You have to worry about more than just tanks, missiles and jets too. There are bunkers, terrain hazards, even weather issues. If you land in water, you can sink and have the engine messed up from the water. You can be rammed by jeeps on the ground.
“Your men, caged up like animals!”
The controls for this game are remarkably simple, and the tutorial gives you all you need to know on how to control. There are three different chopper types, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. You have three different weapons as well, and while you can’t control them directly, knowing what is most appropriate is important. Nevertheless, even with the simple controls, it is not easy. In levels where weather is a factor. As it is very easy to lose control and flip the chopper. While it is possible to recover from this if you are high enough off the ground, don’t expect to, and you can end up flat as a pancake quite easily “Winds blowing you off course are very dangerous…””…and can lead you to this conclusion.”
When you get to where your men are, sometimes they are being held on moving trucks, and you have to rescue them from the convoy. This can be a challenge, as if you can’t get them at the time, they will be re-captured and you have to do it all over. Not surprising, though, and quite an ingenious way to force you to be efficient with how you rescue. But then you will get them back to base and offload them so they can be debriefed and have some hot coffee.
“Look for red smoke, it means our boys are down there waiting for you!” “Move out boys! There’s donuts in there too!”
For a simple game concept, this game does have its issues. As mentioned, the controls are more than a little touchy. Sometimes just a slight touch can cause a chopper to flip, and setting down a little too hard will end up leaving you dead, even on your own base. The concept for the game isn’t original either. As mentioned, it goes back to 1982, and there was even an HD remake of that original game that is on consoles and PC released four years ago. The lack of a level editor to make more levels for friends is also a downside. Something like that could allow fans to challenge each other and really have fun. There are only 25 missions, and considering the first half can be completed rather quickly, the game is way too short with very little reason to come back to it once you are done.
The biggest allure to this game is the cute graphics, which really do add a lot to it, and the sounds. I was pleasantly surprised to hear actual comms, even if studio made, in the game. Hell, even down to the frantic “INCOMING!” when you have a missile bearing down on you. The physics simulation for the chopper itself, as well as how weather affects it are also quite good. It made it feel like you were really fighting the wind when it was blowing against you. There are challenges in the levels. You can try and beat certain times to get various medals, and also collect dog tags hidden in the levels at random, sometimes in very hard to reach locations.
In the end, this is a fun little diversion game, but not something really serious you put your mind into. If you are looking for something as a break between more intense and challenging games, or something that you pick up for a short while before going out, this is for you. If you prefer to plow through a game and see it through to the end, this game will be very short.
+ Great Sounds
+ Adorable Graphics
+ Good Physics
– Controls are simplistic and frustrating
– Easy to die
– Too short, no level editor
Replay value: 2/5
Invictus Games Dustoff Heli Rescue is a fun diversion game, but not something very special or original.
Title: Dustoff Heli Rescue
Developer: Invictus Games Ltd.
Genre: Action Arcade
Release Date: 2015-02-06
Spent time: 1.5 hours
Average grade Internationally: n/a
PEGI age rating: unknown
Price: $4.49 CAD
Install Size: 537MB
The Gaming Ground
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