Bomber Crew is an odd release and it’s definitely one you should check out. Commanding a crew of a Lancaster in WW2, you have a variety of missions to guide your crew through. Some bombing, some against the u-boat threat, some to drop supplies to friendly pilots. All of which you take through with your bomber.
This game has two major parts to it. The first is the management of your bomber. It’s not just the crew you need to man your bomber, the bomber itself. Not only can you customise the bomber, manage its load out of engines, defensive guns and you can also equip your crew. Each of these crew has a number of items you can give them. Gloves, boots, vests, helmets, all of these have to be bought and assigned to make the most of your crew. Allow you to spend more time at high altitude. Learning to balance these items with their role also matters. Engineers, radiomen, deep in the armoured fuselage don’t need to be so protected as the gunners or pilot do.
Yet, there’s still more you need to balance, consider. When you’re preparing your bomber you only have so much weight available. Better grades of engine can increase this, but you might want to sacrifice some of that extra lift capacity for armour, or perhaps, use the light weight engine to fit in other components. Do you want to put in the better machine guns, yet have to worry about ammunition. Do you put in machine guns with the ammo feed, so that your gunners don’t have to worry about reloading their guns. Improving the armour of your fuselage, fuel tanks are powerful upgrades but take up even more weight.
Crew skills are more than the station they hold. Combining the Gunner and Bombardier skills make sense, the two stations so close. Making your radioman, RADAR operator a medic also makes a kind of sense. Your Engineer can also work well as a Medic, the Engineer frequently not as his station repairing the electrical system or the hydraulics. When you’re in a mission you’re going to be busy, keeping everything going.
Tagging is the core of each and every mission you’re going to play. This view you get allows you to set your course, starting your runs on your targets and mark targets for your gunners. There’s a lot to be kept track of, each time your navigator marks a course correction, attacking fighters and more draws your attention away from the crew. Other times you’ll be inside the bomber, managing the crew. Some of the time, in-flight repairs will keep your engineer busy. Thankfully you can buy some equipment to make their job easier, charges to suppress fires on the engines. There never is a plain and easy minute in this game.
Audio and Visuals
One of the things which really does the game credit is the visual style it has. I can’t quite describe it as comic, but animated certainly applies. It’s distinctive but can still carry quite a lot of definition. In missions, looking for enemy fighters they can be hard to make out against the sky. Clouds, sunlight, all help add visual depth to the game. Even the terrain you fly over has depth. London and towns of England are easy to spot. Your customisable bomber can even be painted to your own scheme.
Were the game does perhaps fall down is in the sound department. While there’s quite a mix of sounds, learning to listen for the drones of engines takes away from the other sounds. The machine guns of your bomber can quickly easily overpower all other sounds. Especially when you have two, three of them firing at once. There’s little else I noticed apart from the character voices. Nothing really grabbed my attention.
This is one of the games that clearly and totally owns its style. From the gameplay to the art and sound, to the control scheme. That’s part is the issue I have with this game. For the first time in years I had to dial back the sensitivity to near zero before I was happy. After that it was a long learning process of experimentation. Thankfully I could repeat a number of missions to learn, refine, mastery. What’s was left is an oddball but fun game. I’ll be keeping this ready for when I need some fun.