There comes a time in every gamer’s life, when you want to take a break from the norm, put aside all that strategy and planning, and simply just play a game…. and blow up lots of stuff. Thunder Wolves definitely provides one of those times. You can completely ignore any of the story elements, skip past any cut-scenes, and if you really want to just free your mind, just cut out all of the sound from the game altogether and listen to your own music. You don’t need any of it, and you will still have loads of fun.
This game is as far away from simulator and as close to arcade feeling as you can get. The ammo is unlimited, though there is a cooling down period for rockets and missiles, and your health is regenerating, yeah, even though you are a helicopter with a barrage of enemy fire steadily coming your away whenever enemies are present. Heck, you can even fly into things in the environment and only hear a clunk noise, then immediately continue to punish your foes on land or in the air. Granted, you are not invincible, and cues on-screen inform you when you taking too much damage, so evasive maneuvers are still recommended.
There are also sniper, on-rails, and ground missions to break up the monotony, but these are pretty mindless as well. It is still pretty much point, shoot, and shoot some more. You will most likely be successful while sniping, as long as you get close enough to your target, then you’ll either start to feel like an expert marksman, or feel like the game is too forgiving. Either way, you’ll stop thinking about it so much and just shoot stuff and blow it up. The on-rails sections are also pretty simple, but you can usually choose your enemy’s demise, by either taking them out one by one, or aiming for the explosive barrels and taking a bunch of them out at one time.
The controls are pretty tight and responsive. The analog sticks (on the 360 version) move your helicopter and aim your weapons. The default controls for the sniping missions might be just a hair on the loose and quick side, but still very manageable. Even when you zoom in using the triggers, with certain weapons, it snap focuses on an enemy giving you the go ahead to hit them with everything you’ve got. It can be somewhat tricky to hold down the trigger, press a shoulder button, and still get flares out to distract incoming missiles, but this is merely a nuisance if you choose not take your finger off of the missiles to hit the flares button when you hear that danger beeping.
Visually, there’s nothing special about this title, and in all of the chaos, you’ll find yourself just firing away at anything with a red indicator near it. The characters in the story are very cartoon-like, if you count only being able to see them through an avatar while they are in a conversation. You can switch between night and heat vision views, which could have helped, had there not been so many markers indicating where each and every enemy were. Audiophiles need not give this one a second look. Everything from the soundtrack to the voice acting is very B-movie. Much like the visuals, almost everything is very average. The voice acting delivers a bunch of cheesy one-liners, but after hearing the same quips over and over, your tolerance begins to wear thin. Of course, assuming you’re playing just to shoot stuff and watch lots of things explode, there won’t really be anything to distract you from having fun.
Unfortunately, there is no online multiplayer. There is an option for local co-op, so if you have a second controller, you and a friend can team up like the characters in the story and commence high-fiving at every completed objective. Progressing through the game will give you additional helicopters and skins to change up the game for multiple playthroughs. The skins are only visual, but the additional helicopters have varied loadouts and strengths that will alter how you play any particular level. Multiple difficulty settings are also available for those that want more of a challenge, if a 5 or 6 hour campaign simply isn’t long enough.
Overall, Thunder Wolves offers a distraction from the much longer and harder games that exist and frustrate you for hours on end. This game will put a smile on your face, encourage you to high-five others for no good reason, and scratches that itch to shoot things and watch stuff blowup. Best of all, it only costs 800 MSP, or about $10.
Title: Thunder Wolves
Format: XBLA (also on PSN, PC)
Developer: Most Wanted Entertainment
Publisher: bitComposer Games
Release Date: June 18, 2013