Despite the awkward title, Dogged Wings: World War II manages to keep its flimsy wood and canvas frame in the air long enough to impress with a dazzling display of aerial acrobatics.
Visually the game is gorgeous, like a beautifully polished Spitfire rolling out onto the runway. Dogged Wings puts on a praiseworthy display, boasting detailed aircraft, undulating scenery and truly awe-inspiring lighting effects.
Take our word for it - when you fly directly into the glimmering sunset on the opening mission, your jaw will drop. Unfortunately, the foundation also drops from beneath this shallow flying game once the sheen of the graphics wears away.Tally-ho, chaps
You’re presented with a series of missions, the majority of which feature basic objectives such as destroying enemies and defending bases.
The fact that you can select any of these missions right from the start of the game undermines any sense of challenge – it would make more sense to unlock each level as you complete a mission.
The incentive to actually put in any effort comes from the promise of additional aircraft if you perform well enough. These include the seminal Spitfire, the famous Thunderbolt and the imposing P-39. Each plane performs differently when it’s in the air, giving the game a much-need sense of variety.Instructions not included
Jumping into the cockpit of a WWII-era fighter plane must have been a daunting prospect for young, inexperienced pilots back in the 1940s, and Dogged Wings stays true to this notion. There’s no tutorial to explain how your craft handles, leaving you to find out for yourself via trial and error.
After a while it becomes clear that tilting your phone handles your pitch, yaw and rolls, while a virtual D-pad influences your speed and sideways movement, allowing you to fine-tune your aim when in a combat situation.
The problems with this setup are immediately apparent. For whatever reason, you can’t use the D-pad and fire your weapons simultaneously. If you wish to adjust your aim, then you have to stop firing your guns, adjust your aim and then recommence firing. It makes no sense whatsoever, and feels utterly broken when you’re in the heat of battle.Catching heat
Speaking of weaponry, Dogged Wings incorporates heat-seeking missiles to your arsenal – something that will undoubtedly have purists spitting feathers. Although they’re not historically accurate, they do at least make the frustrating combat a little easier.
Dog-fighting never feels smooth or natural. More often than not, the only reason you manage to get an enemy back in your sights when they pass you is because the computer is painfully stupid.
To make things significantly worse, the game is peppered with bugs. I experienced an unacceptable number of crashes – usually when attempting to restart or exit a mission. Ironically, crashes of another kind were often less forthcoming – on one occasion we managed to plunge straight through solid ground without incurring even a scratch.
It’s a crying shame that Dogged Wings is so rough around the edges, because it manages to capture a little of the gung-ho spirit that makes this era of aviation so appealing.
Unfortunately, all of the good work is squandered by sloppy programming, poor game structure and a general lack of fun.