Flight simulators and air combat games can sometimes feel like an entirely separate universe. Take the feature list in Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders. While most games are saying “incredible Unreal graphics” – Atypical Games’ new release touts accurate atmospheric scattering, refractive raindrops, specular masks and volumetric clouds. What this means in human language is that there is immense, near absurd detail to every aspect of the flying experience and amazingly all of it is boiled down to a touchscreen interface.
Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders sets your touchscreen flight action across the World War II theater of battle, from the European mainland to the attack on Pearl Harbor. You’ll be participating in dogfights and sorties with a huge number of teammates and foes. The HUD can get hectic with the sheer number of targets zipping through the sky. Doubly so if you elect to use the on-screen control method.
Controls, sadly, were the greatest issue I had with Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders. Atypical Games did make a heroic effort to accommodate every imaginable need someone might face in a flight combat game on iOS. Five arrangements skew from full simulation, where pitch and yaw are controlled by gyroscope and accelerometer, to the above-mentioned casual on-screen control pad. Each changes the game dramatically in difficulty, but in my case the changes took the experience from “impossible” to “merely hard.” Despite trying each method, I found acing turns and trailing foes endlessly frustrating. I found myself fumbling more than fragging my opponents. With a few hours of gameplay I was able to manage dogfights better but I never felt quite like Maverick in Top Gun. The learning curve is intense, to say the least.
Those red arrows? Enemies that want your blood. No biggie.
Controls aside, Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders brings a veritable B-52 bomber full of gameplay modes to the table, including multiplayer (local or online), campaign, survival, capture the flag and (a lot) more. The robust collection is enough for anyone to find the mode that suits their flying style – my favorite being free flight, a casual jaunt around just to check out the compelling graphics and scenery.
There’s no shortage of historical flying action in Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders. From the bombing of London to an entire fleet of customizable planes, the game is an ode to WWII air combat far beyond anything comparable on iOS. For me though, the steep learning curve took the wind out of the wings and kept this bird on the ground.