|Publisher: Freeverse Genre: Arcade
|Min OS X: 10.4
There was a time in my life when Bungie was the only chef whose meal I cared to devour. Bungie was good to me and they were good to Apple, serving up classic delicacies. Marathon… Myth. Good times. However, after Bungie went over to the Death Star, they left a void that, thankfully, was filled by Freeverse—now the current gaming chefs of my heart.
Freeverse’s latest offering is Wingnuts 2: Raina’s Revenge. And it is tasty. I really don’t think I know of another way to describe it. It is a smorgasbord of gaming, flavorful and juicy. It looks good, sounds good, has great action, tons of options and is neither too easy nor too hard. It is choice, succulent.
In WingNuts 2, the gamer plays the role of a time-traveling Wingnuts pilot, taking command of an array of aircraft from recent history in the fight against temporal criminals. The Wingnuts temporal aircraft carrier shuttles the hero back and forth to various spots of danger around the globe. This carrier will both fight alongside the gamer and be a home away from home. As you fight your numerous, numerous enemies, you can land on your carrier and swap planes, allowing the one you were in to be repaired and refueled.
The gameplay style is a mix of old-school 2-D shooters like Raiden or 1942 and modern 3-D dogfighters. The game is not a scrolling game—each level is a finite entity that the gamer can travel about in freely. The viewing area is tight in on the action, and the range of weapons isn’t infinite. These two factors, coupled with the almost boggling number of enemies in a level at one time, creates a frenetic dog-fight feel on the 2-D plane. Helping this is the fact that your plane can do barrel rolls and loops to avoid fire from enemies in the air and on the ground.
Even in the level briefing, Wingnuts 2 looks awesome. From the always sharp (and now virtually iconic) Freeverse character art, to the tracking and moving level map that acts as the background, to the scrolling images of enemies that will be faced in the level, everything is crisp and bright and well-detailed. Even the voice acting is of good quality—and anyone whose played Freeverse games before will recognize their standard female announcer voice making an appearance.
Levels are challenging, but not impossible. The ability to trade out planes by landing on the carrier adds a degree of strategy to the level and makes it possible for less skilled gamers to make their experience last. Even for veteran gamers, the fact that each plane constantly expends fuel is reason to keep an eye on things and always check back with the carrier. It also forces the gamer to dip into their “weaker” aircraft from time to time.