Dustoff Heli Rescue II Nintendo Switch Review

Developer: Invictus Games, Ratalaika Games

Publisher: Rainy Frog

Release Date: January 25th, 2018

Price as of Article: $14.99 USD, £13.49 GBP

Story

There isn’t much a story to this game.  You are a helicopter pilot in the army, and you get deployed missions to rescue soldiers, transport cargo and engage in combat.  The mission details don’t really impart any sense of a story, so you can just focus on jumping into the game.

Audio

The music in Dustoff Heli Rescue II focuses on the beating of snare drums and bass drums and effectively instills a feeling of war in the players.  The sounds of the helicopter’s blades constantly whirring compliments this well during gameplay.  However, there isn’t a lot of variety to the music, and it quickly gets repetitive.

Visuals & Performance
Dustoff Heli Rescue II characters
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The visuals have a certain lighthearted retro flair.

Tiger Rescue employs a blocky, 3D art style with helicopters which look like they were made of legos and character models that could have come straight from Minecraft.  Of course, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but this sort of art style is a bit of an acquired taste and will not appeal to everyone.

Functionality, the game works absolutely fine.  I did not encounter any crashes or slowdown, so you will be going into this with a stable experience.  Unfortunately, there is no use of the touchscreen in this game which sort of surprised me as the menus have large icons which would have been well-suited to touch navigation.  It would have certainly been nice to see this game employ some of the Switch’s special features as there could have been great potential for HD Rumble in a game like this.

Gameplay

At first, the controls feel confusing.  If you approach this game without doing prior research into it, you might think like I did that you will have full-range 3D movement.  It turns out it is not like that.  This is a side scrolling game where you will fly side to side while avoiding obstacles, landing for supplies, rescuing soldiers and engaging in combat.  Be careful that you don’t land too hard or you might blow your helicopter up!

 

Dustoff Heli Rescue II Mission file
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Before each mission, you will see a file like this detailing your goals and rewards.

This Is a Mission-Based Arcade-Style Action Game
When you enter a stage, you are given a mission with specific goals.  For example, in the first mission there is a broken vehicle requiring mechanics.  You just need to transport them from the base to the location of the vehicle.  If you accomplish this and finish the mission in a specific amount of time, then your ranking for that stage will increase.  That is the basic concept of how every stage in this game works.  Additionally, you can search for dog tag collectibles.  Don’t worry if you die after picking one up because the tag will still be registered as collected.

 

Dustoff Heli Rescue II combat
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The auto-aiming in this game takes some getting used to.

Auto-Fire Combat System
This game does not only involve rescuing people as there are enemies to encounter as well.  You don’t need to concern yourself with targeting them as this game employs an auto-fire mechanism.  It isn’t particularly satisfying for the enemies to simply be destroyed as you approach, but at least it allows you to focus completely on your aerial maneuvering.  After all, just hitting the ground or an obstacle once results in a crash and mission failure.  However, because you are reliant upon the auto-aiming mechanism, the game will sometimes not target enemies when you feel it should have which can result in repeated deaths that may have been avoidable with a manual, twin-stick aiming system or a lock-on targeting system similar to Zelda.

 

Dustoff Heli Rescue II Samurai
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Choppers and weapons are unlocked by completing certain stages then buying them with in-game currency.

Multiple Choppers to Unlock
By progressing through the campaign, you will be able to unlock new helicopters and weapons.  Different helicopters have different abilities. For example, the Sokolsky is the helicopter you start the game with, and it specializes in transporting people and cargo.  The second helicopter you get is called the Samurai, and it specializes in attacking as you might have guessed but cannot carry cargo.  As such, you will need to consider the best vehicle to complete each mission before going into them.  However, if a helicopter doesn’t have the particular requirements for a mission, the game simply won’t allow you to use it.

Somewhat Repetitive Gameplay
As you progress through the game, you will quickly notice a pattern forming; almost every stage involves the same kind of missions.  There may be 35 stages, but the experience gets rather repetitive as there is not much variety in the gameplay.  Also, many of the stages require you to fly halfway through the stage only to fly back to the starting point and back again between objectives.  It makes some stages take much longer to finish than it feels they should.   However, the game gets more difficult as you progress thanks to there being a greater number of enemies to contend with as well as harder stages to navigate, so there is a decent level of satisfaction to be found for players who stick it out to the end.

*This review was written by Brian Myers for switchwatch.co.uk.

Value

Some of the stages feel unnecessarily long by forcing you to retread the area you have already crossed as you go back and forth between the base and your objectives.  This serves to artificially lengthen the time you will spend with this game, but, as we all know, spending more time with a game doesn’t mean that it has a better value.  In all, you can expect about 3-5 hours of gameplay if you manage to get through without dying much although that will be difficult to manage.  Being at the mercy of the auto-aiming mechanism means that you will frequently die in situations that simply feel out of your control.  In all, the game feels a little too expensive for what it offers.

Pros

P

Mastering Controlling the Helicopter is Satisfying

Cons

P

Repetitive Gameplay and Music

P

Auto-Aiming Mechanism is Unreliable