Game Reviews

MiniSquadron: Special Edition

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MiniSquadron: Special Edition

MiniSquadron was a stunning debut from Supermono Studios. Bold, brash, and with control and physics models to die for, it was positively brimming over with bright ideas.

Any talk of possible ‘second album syndrome’ for MiniSquadron: Special Edition needs to be put on hold, though, as it’s clearly more of a remix collection than a full-on follow-up.

Fortunately, the MiniSquadron formula has lost none of its potency. New craft and improved visuals make this a worthy addition to the original.

Arts and aircraft

As before, you pilot your chosen aircraft (from a fresh roster of 56) around a collection of aerial arenas, shooting waves of enemies out of the sky over 12 rounds. Along the way you unlock new levels and new aircraft, the constant drip-feed of rewards sufficient to keep you blasting away for hours.

That’s not the main draw, though – that honour belongs to the sublime flight physics and air-tight control system. Simply buzzing around in the assorted planes is an absolute joy, and after a while you’ll be darting in between enemy formations and skimming mere inches from the ground in pursuit of slippery extra lives.

It has to be said that this sensation is neutered when taking control of the new helicopter units, which can turn on a six-pence at the expense of only being able to face (and thus shoot) to either side. Still, their use is entirely optional, and they certainly mix things up nicely when they form part of a mixed opposition wave.

Psychedelic plane

The core gameplay remains unchanged, and the main difference here is an aesthetic one.

MiniSquadron’s already colourful and stylised backdrops have been supplanted by a selection of strikingly fantastical levels. This initiall grates a little – particularly now that the ducky cannon fodder has been replaced by a variety of surreal alternatives (cats, penguins, cherubs).

However, going back to the original after a few hours spent in Special Edition’s sharper, more detailed company makes it feel drab and under-populated (though still ace, of course). It won’t be for everyone, but MiniSquadron: Special Edition’s vivid universe is a striking place to spend time in.

Despite the makeover, it’s inescapable that Special Edition is more of the same. However, the fact that the MiniSquadron formula remains so fresh and unique means that, on this occasion, more of the same is just about enough.

MiniSquadron: Special Edition

While meaningful changes are few, MiniSquadron: Special Edition’s bold new aesthetic, new craft and enduringly thrilling gameplay make it well worth a look for fans and newcomers alike
Jon Mundy
Jon Mundy
Jon is a consummate expert in adventure, action, and sports games. Which is just as well, as in real life he's timid, lazy, and unfit. It's amazing how these things even themselves out.