Review: Lost Wing (PS4)
Developers: BoxFrog Games, 2Awesome Studio
Publishers: 2Awesome Studio
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
Rail shooters and arcade games have seen a new wave of presence and reinvention from a variety of talented developers. Games such as Ghost Blade HD and Aces of the Luftwaffe are great examples of incredibly polished and well-done arcade games that provide something original and refreshing while sticking to their new roots. Lost Wing from 2Awesome studios is such a similar game, a rail shooter with a unique perspective and gameplay mechanic of traveling through an endless tube to defeat enemies, similar to Tempest in a way. After spending some time in Early Access Lost Wing has arrived on PC and console, becoming an engaging arcade shooter for the patient and the competitive.
Lost Wing puts players in the pilot seat of a starfighter, locked in a scifi world of tubes and energy. The goal is to escape this digital prison and embrace freedom. Your ship is power by energy and that energy is finite. For players, the skills in speed and avoiding objects are more valuable than shooting.
Lost Wing takes place across three different worlds. Each world has its own obstacles and unique boss to fight. The key to victory and a high score is to balance energy, speed, and not collide with the absurd amount of obstacles in your oath. Those skilled and fortunate enough to survive will face down a boss at the end. With only three lives to spare, players learn the path through trial and error, eventually achieving victory, ad a high score.
Lost Wing has the unique distinction of being a rail shooter, where the shooting has finite ammunition. Lost Wing becomes an action game, with a small mechanics of energy management. Shooting too much wear out your ammunition reserves. Storing it is a wise action, but risky, as the tube litters with more debris and objects, some of which are indestructible. Occasionally, an alert will sound and the entire game will begin to rotate, rolling a full 360-degree view. This gameplay loop occurs seemingly at random and can become both a fun challenge and a distracting frustration as players work hard for the top of the leaderboards. Players that make it through to the end face down a boss fight, with each one providing a sharp challenge to players, testing their skills, wits, and speed. There are only 3 lives for players, even on an easier difficulty, and while there are also checkpoints, losing a level means starting front he very beginning.
Lost Wing provides an old-fashioned sense of gameplay that hasn’t been seen in quite some time. The three-lives rule alone makes Lost Wing an arcade experience for the bravest and the boldest. Older fashioned arcades games were made in the essence of trial-and-error, where players repeated levels and honed their senses to successfully complete a game. Lost Wing bolsters his experience with sharp visual design and a pulsing soundtrack. Additionally, players can lose a wing during battle, affecting their movement and balance. There are pickups that heal the wings, but this feature gives players a fighting chance at the cost of having a more difficult time handling the craft. Lost Wing certainly provides for those looking for quick bursts of action.
Where Lost Wing fall short is in its length and a gameplay mechanic that is perhaps too straightforward. Lost Wing features multiple difficulty settings to pad out the runtime. Players can get through the main game on Easy difficulty, but the challenge rises on the higher difficulty settings. This is where checkpoints and extra lives become very limited, making each level that much harder.
Playing Lost Wing was rather frustrating, even on Easy. This is primarily due to indestructible objects and the lack of a grace period when staring at a checkpoint. On numerous occasions, when my ship as destroyed and I restarted at a checkpoint, I immediately crashed into another object in less than five seconds. This was infuriating and there should have been a ten second grace period for players to get their bearings before becoming vulnerable. Some indestructible items appear normal at longer range, but by then are realized to be covered in shields. By the time these items appear, it's too late. The "rotation" affect seemingly comes at random and out of nowhere also, and while it is entertaining to succeed in a level while the level is upside down, there are times that it is disorientating enough to crash. Dodging indestructible objects and surviving long enough to make it to the boss was challenging enough, but losing to a boss and having to start from the beginning felt defeating. It was rewarding to finally finish a level after close to two hours of play, but the victory felt pyrrhic. There could have been a means to balance out the difficulty just slightly to make the experience better, primarily removing indestructible towers that appear destructible from a distance. Additionally, more levels, bosses, and enemies could have been added, with a small story tying everything together. It could have given Lost Wing more legs for gameplay, as well as enemy variety, weapon variety, and level design. Three levels and multiple difficulties may satiate the interests of players looking for more hardcore arcade experiences, but for those looking for a more balanced experienced, Lost Wing may not be what prospective players are looking for.
However, Lost Wing is a game with a vision and it succeeds in what it does. The tube-styled rail shooting is well-realized and nicely designed. Despite the faults with the gameplay, it is entertaining and fun when players find their rhythm. Overall, Lost Wing is an old-fashioned arcade game that is good enough to play and dab into. While there may be design choices that need work, Lost Wing demonstrates a strong degree of talent that everyone should check out, and for those yearning for the more difficult days of video games, Lost Wing will certainly be for you.
Lost Wing was reviewed on the PS4 thanks to a key received from 2Awesome Studio