LUFTRAUSERS is a short game. To be precise, it takes about 30 seconds. We’re not talking in terms of hours you need to complete the campaign, although you technically could beat it within two minutes. We’re not even talking about how many hours you’ll be playing the game in total. What we’re talking about is the amount of time a single round of LUFTRAUSERS is going to take you.
When you boot the game for the first time on your PlayStation 3 or PlayStation Vita, you’ll see the logos of Vlambeer and Devolver Digital – as you’d expect. There’ll be a short introductory cutscene, as a lone dot appears on enemy radar. A submarine rises from the water.
The structure of the game is really simple. You start out with the original LUFTRAUSER, the most powerful airplane ever built. It is launched perfectly vertical from a submarine that only submerges for the shortest of moments to allow you to establish yourself as the nightmare of the many enemies surrounding you.
A game of LUFTRAUSERS is essentially you trying to survive against increasing odds. While at first you might engage only basic fighter planes, it’ll take an average player just moments to lure out more powerful foes – fighter jets and boats. You’ll pull impressive maneuvers to dodge their fire while returning a constant spray of bullets. Only every now and then will you release the fire button to allow your airplane to repair itself. Eventually, you succumb to the crossfire in a glorious explosion.
This should be about 30 seconds after you boot up the game.
If you were good at the game, you’d be fighting the final boss in approximately 60 seconds. Of course, you just got started so you’re probably terrible at the game, although admittedly, you probably did pull some crazy acrobatics.
You start over and the game introduces missions that you can complete to unlock new LUFTRAUSER parts. While you slowly start to come to grips with the game and clear some missions, your average game time is still under 50 seconds. You might’ve seen a larger sea vessel at this point, but they’re mighty enemies that you simply cannot manage to defeat.
We don’t think a ‘run’ has to be long. We think that at the end of each run, you should feel like you know what you did wrong or what you could do better.
You start unlocking parts – engines, weapons and body parts that you can combine to create 125 different combinations of LUFTRAUSER. Do you build a slower, but more heavily armored RAUSER with a heavy weapon and a submarine engine to take those larger, new boats? Maybe you prefer speed over armour, and maybe you like to get in close for melee damage?
As you learn to survive longer, your combos rack up higher. Your scores keep increasing. You start to understand how the game works and how each LUFTRAUSER handles. If you want to be truly good at this game, there are many more challenges you need to master. From enemy aces equipped with machineguns to classified entities – there’s a lot to learn before you can call yourself worthy of a real LUFTRAUSER pilot.
From our playtests we can tell you that an average game of LUFTRAUSERS is 68 seconds. In that time, people kill about 70 to 100 enemies. We can also tell you that about 30% of players have managed to ‘complete the game’ including the final boss.
We wanted to make a game about becoming the best fighter pilot in the world. If you’re willing to rise to that challenge, you’ll be meandering your favourite RAUSER through clouds of bullets, picking off stray foes and shooting down enemies a hundred times your size. We promise you though, that will not come easy. It will take practice.
We wanted to create a game that gets to the point without nonsense. We wanted to create a game that doesn’t hold your hand, that allows you to fail and get better.
Well, that and we really like explosions and absurd amounts of screen shake.