Good if you like grinding and repetition
Strike Wing: Raptor Rising is the odd case of a pretty good game which just doesn’t quite have all it needs to sink its hooks into you. It does have quite a bit going for it, as you are greeted with a choice of control style, ranging between touchscreen joystick and gyroscopic tilt steering; and what’s more surprising than it should be in this business, the touchscreen controls are actually quite good. Accompanying the slick controls, which also include buttons for firing, boosting, and slowing down, are some very nice graphics and suitable (if not particularly catchy) music and sound effects for your space dogfight.
And a dogfight is just what it is, as you engage the enemy in a full 360-degree field of battle, shooting at the enemy fighters with the help of your wingmen. There is also the boast of adaptable enemy AI, changing as you play, but it can be a bit difficult to notice, at least earlier on. Fortunately, locking on to enemies is pretty simple, as you don’t need a precise lock on your targets to score hits: just getting them inside the wider targeting reticule is often enough to engage a small degree of auto-targeting from your guns, alleviating what could have been a rather frustrating experience.
The game is broken up into missions, and this is where things begin to falter. Each mission contains a different scenario or end objective, but there isn’t really anything to tie them together. It’s essentially a high-score game, and while that’s not bad—we’re certainly not ones to say games must have a story—something about it just feels kind of lacking without one.
What’s more, you’re not allowed to take on new missions until you meet prerequisites such as reaching a certain level and being able to purchase a certain ship. And this isn’t something which comes later on, but rather, you’ll have to replay the first level over and over again, waiting for extraction each time until you’ve met the requirements to move on to something else. Naturally, this part is augmented by in-app purchases, should you so desire.
It doesn’t help that while the core gameplay is quite good, it’s also quite redundant, at least in that first level. It’s basically a matter of following the red arrows until you find an enemy, then holding the fire button until they go boom. Rinse, repeat. The enemies, near as we can tell, all act the same there, making things drag on for a bit, which could potentially kill one’s inclination to go even further before they even get very far to begin with.
All in all, Strike Wing: Raptor Rising isn’t a bad game, but it kind of drags a bit, and isn’t helped by its predisposition towards nudging you to get your wallet out. There is something with the potential to be really good here, but it needs more refinement to truly make it shine.