While October and November tends to be the time the big Triple A games start to bite at our wallets and steal all our cash, that doesn’t mean that Early Access on Steam doesn’t hold a few decent finds. One of these is Airheart: Tales of Broken Wings. A fishing and combat battle game that may be frustrating, but is also a hell of a lot of fun.
Airheart is a dieselpunk action game that puts you into the role of Amelia, a young woman with big dreams. Flying her plane through the skies doing battle against space pirates, she makes money from catching fish and salvaging parts from the wreckage of defeated opponents.
With its top-down view, there is an old school feel to Airheart, and the combat system does tend to back this up too. With the game also being a rougelike, expect a fairly frustrating time as the level of challenge is high on this one. The fact that defeat leads to losing your catch of fish and the upgrades on your plane is the most annoying aspect of all.
One of the questions I’m sure you’ll have about Airheart is the question of fish…in the air. This is where suspension of disbelief has to take place. Fish fly through the air and you have to catch them. The problem with the fish available is that they are also managed by a system that is trying to teach the player about the dangers of over-fishing.
In an easy game, you would be able to stay on the first level and simply catch fish, return to base, make money and then go back for more fish. What you find though is that the fishing has affected fish levels and you have to wait until these stocks are replenished. What you do till then? Go up another level to find more fish. The problem with this of course is that from level 2 upwards the pirates are going to hunt you down in the aim of destroying your ship and stealing your catch.
When you first start the game with a fairly weak plane, these pirates can be annoying to fight off. Given better weapons though, and then better planes these battles become more fun. The more fights you get into, the more chance you also have of making more money as they tend to drop some interesting loot.
When your plane gets damaged, you have two options…risk going into a nosedive and probably lose everything, or make a quick escape and save your plane and your catch. Once this happens you enter a fun (but hectic) little free-fall back to your base and down from the level you’ve managed to reach. Once safe, you can repeat your scaling up the levels again, but hopefully with better upgrades.
Airheart: Tales of Broken Wings is an interesting Early Access game, and more elements are being added all the time. This includes the possibility of bigger catches that could provide bigger payouts. I’ll admit that while the game is fun to play, there does need to be a little balancing to maybe make the game slightly less frustrating, or allow you to make money a little faster.
Right now, your plane is easily outgunned and this can lead to giving up on a playthrough just out of the frustration of losing out once again to the pirates. What we have to remember of course is that this is a rougelike, and since when have they been easy?
With Airheart being an Early Access title there is still some way to go with the game. The potential shown though definitely makes this one to watch. The fact that right now it costs £10.99 also makes it an easy pick up for people who want a game that offers something a little different. Expect the game to change through the Early Access process, but I get the feeling this will just get better and better.
Airheart: Tales of Broken Wings is available on PC through Steam Early Access now.