Whos That Flying Review

Published on February 15th, 2011

Who’s That Flying?! gives a completely new meaning to the term WTF, as it throws you into a fast paced, side-scrolling shoot-em-up with just the right amount of differences and features to set it aside from others of this genre.

Originally starting out life as a Playstation Minis title, Mediatonic – the folk who brought you ‘Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess – have now released the title to PC via the ever popular digital distribution platform Steam and for the bargain price of £5.99.

Who’s That Flying?! casts you in the role of the Guardian of Earth, a showboating, posing superhero and a member of the Galactic Council of Space Justice. From the start of the game, you find yourself on trial by this very council, on charges of gross incompetence for allowing the Earth to come under attack by the Doom Beasts.

The majority of the games 15 stages are played out as memories, put forward as defensive testimony, in an attempt to prove you did everything in your power to stop the attack of the Doom Beasts on planet Earth.

From a quick look at the screenshots you may be mistaken into thinking this is your average side-scrolling shooter, but that is definitely not the case. While the underlying gameplay is something many gamers are familiar with, there are a few differences with WTF?!, the main one being your inability to die – you are a superhero, after all.

This doesn’t mean you can simply coast your way through the levels however, as the aim of the game is to prevent the Ravagers – the smaller variety of the Doom Beasts – from getting past you, and attacking the city. If you let 50 of these creatures get away, it’s game over.

Your main weapon is your blaster arm, which is capable of unleashing powerful attacks, gained by building up your combo bar in the bottom-left of the screen from chain attacks, and activating them as limited-time power boosts, such as powerful laser beams. As an alternative, you can also grab the Ravagers by flying into them, ripping them apart and causing a mini explosion that may take out other Ravagers nearby – this is very useful for those that have almost made it off screen, and too far behind you to be hit with your blaster.

The Ravagers come on screen in various patterns, whizzing around in menacing formations, before making their attempt to get to the city, meaning you have a short time to take them out. This can be both a blessing, and a curse, as these melee attacks slow you down briefly, preventing you from firing again for a short time.

As you progress, you will come up against bigger enemies but unlike other shooters, you do not actually NEED to kill these. Although they will give you extra points to help rack up a high score, they exist purely to prevent you from dealing with the Ravagers and will do everything in their power to stop you.

These beasties will shock you with electric beams, cover you in goo preventing movement, or simply charge across the screen at you, knocking you around in a daze. In the earlier stages, these cause very few problems, and can be easily avoided, but later in the game, they will regularly block your shots by lining up in front of the Ravagers and – and this is where you get to have some fun, as they can often be a great helping in preventing potentially disastrous situations.

After weakening the bigger enemies you activate a special grab attack, activated by holding CTRL (or the left trigger on a 360 pad) while in melee range, and then hammering away at the fire button. This will unleash a devastating attack, destroying the Doom Beast and causing a ripple effect to all nearby enemies destroying them in the process.

This kind of attack introduces an almost tactical element to the gameplay, and provides a welcome break from the constant blasting of seemingly endless waves of Ravagers.

WTF?! consists of 5 stages set in varying locations, starting out in New York and moving on to Tokyo, Mexico, Russia and the final stage in space itself. Each stage is made up of three individual levels of increasing difficulty, and a battle with a giant boss at the end of the third.

These boss fights can be quite intense, and you will soon find yourself battling three or four giant enemies on screen, while still trying to prevent the Ravagers from sneaking into the city.

The story mode itself is not very long, but has some rather amusing cut-scenes between the stages, and will only set you back an hour or two of playing time – I managed to finish the five stages in around 90 minutes or so.

That’s not to say this game is short, though, as the story mode is merely an introduction to type of enemies you will come up against, and can be treated as a tutorial of sorts as you will gradually unlock the two additional modes of play.

For each stage you complete you will unlock Endless Mode, which is exactly as it says on the tin. Endless waves of enemies will come at you, and your aim is to rack up the highest score possible in an attempt to top the online scoreboard. The game will end once a total of 50 Ravagers have attacked the city.

Once the story mode is complete, you will unlock challenge mode, which is where the skills you have honed will be put to the test. There are 24 challenges in total, varying from high score challenges to playing a stage on turbo mode and not letting a single Ravager through.

Even when finished, the story mode still has more to offer as bronze, silver and gold medals are awarded depending on the remaining health of your city at the end of each level – this alone will take a considerable amount of time, especially if you plan to get a perfect score on them all, which can often seem impossible.

Visually, WTF?! has seen an improvement over its portable predecessor with full HD graphics and a particularly distinct, yet basic, style. Each city is represented in the background, from the sprawling skyscrapers of New York to the snowy rooftops of Russia.
While a bit of variation in the Ravagers would have been nice, there is often so much going on that it helps to have one kind you need to focus on.

Overall, Who’s That Flying?! is a great little game that has plenty to offer for the cheap price and definitely worth a look.

Score: 85%

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