Courtroom drama isn’t something you’d expect a PSP minis title to feature, and, wisely enough, developers Mediatonic know this too. So, whilst any exposition and purpose behind Who’s That Flying?! is dressed up in (an admittedly rather hilarious) contracted battle of words and wit between representatives from the Solar System’s planetary bodies, the main bulk of the game is a surprisingly smart side scrolling shooter. With, as you might have already expected, one or two twists of its own that really set the game apart.
I haven’t enjoyed a shoot-em-up as much as this since the original R-Type, and that’s because WTF?! (as it’s known to its friends) isn’t your standard space shooter. Rather, it’s a subtle blend of retro Konami shmup (with a similar upgrade path), tower defense and fighting game. And, to top it all off, your on-screen avatar, representing Earth in the overarching story, is invulnerable. Bullets, bad guys and bosses might slow you down or temporarily stun you, but they can’t kill you – a shooter like no other, then.
You’ll find out that you’re held responsible for legions of enemies breaking through to our planet, and thus via a series of levels playing out as flashbacks across the globe, you’ll try to tell the tale from a more positive angle. That is, to not let anything get past you (off the left side of the screen) and instead fill every last meanie with laser and lead. Or, given the fact that you can’t die, you can get up close and personal and tear them apart with your bare hands. Tower defense might be a misnomer, but it gets across the basic idea.
So, holding down the X button fires your current weapon, and as you pile up the points a little meter fills in the bottom left and unlocks ever more potent power-ups, includes faster auto-fire and a ridiculously huge screen destroying beam, which can be activated when you’re ready with the square button. The smaller enemies are taken out without much fuss but you’ll need to learn the patterns to maximise your combo, which rewards you for continously hitting the target with an ever increasing multiplier.
Bosses come in all shapes and sizes, although the design of the invaders remains a constant throughout the game – you’ll need to wear down various parts of the ginormous monsters whilst still ensuring none of the smaller enemies sneak off the left side of the screen (you’re allowed fifty ‘misses’) and then once weakened you hold down R1 to grab and then tap X to punch until they’re destroyed, an interesting facet that breaks up the game and adds an slight tactical aspect to your timing.
The graphics are lovely, with the pastel tones and heavy black lines perfectly fitting the comic-book undertones present throughout the game. Everything is nicely animated, the way the screen zooms out for the bigger bosses is a nice touch and even the aforementioned courtroom cut-scenes are well drawn (and often very funny). It’s a very slick package – we’d have preferred a few more enemy types but there’s more than enough here to warrant the purchase for anyone looking for something new for their PSP.
- Lovely new take on the shoot-em-up genre
- Great presentation and visuals
- The levels are perhaps a little too long
- There’s not a huge amount of variety
Who’s That Flying?! is a great game. It’s evident that it’s from the same studio as Monsters (probably) Stole My Princess as the visuals share a similar style, the sense of humour is spot-on and the presentation is slick and way above most minis out there. There’s a fair bit to do and unlock, too, including treats for completing levels with only a few enemies sneaking through and there’s score tables for each level and a number of little (in-game) trophies to pick up along the way. A smart, confident game.
Who’s That Flying?! is out later today on PSP minis (so works on your PS3 too) priced at £3.99.