Choplifter HD Review
Are you texting and flying again?
InXile Entertainment are one of those studios that don’t like to stick to one genre. In keeping with this the creators of Hunted: The Demon’s Forge are here to bring you Choplifter HD. An arcade title that has you flying a series of helicopters on a series of rescue and combat missions while the pilot and co-pilot toss one-liners back and forth at each other. It’s an interesting concept and, of course, a drastic departure from their last game but players may be surprised at how quickly they’re hooked.
Choplifter HD places you in the shoes of a fictional helicopter rescue team that must pick up civilians, destroy enemies, dodge enemy ordnance, kill zombies(sometimes) and drop off special forces personnel. This all takes place in 2.5D environments. For those of you who aren’t familiar with 2.5D, it simply means that most of the action takes place in a 2D side scrolling level, but occasionally the third dimension is used as a gameplay device. In the case of Choplifter HD the third dimension houses enemies that will appear in the foreground. You must then turn your chopper to face them using the right or left bumper.
The rest of the control scheme is quite simple, the left stick controls your chopper’s movement and the right aims your weapons. The triggers are your weapons and any face button can be used to boost. Choplifter HD uses these controls in the way a great arcade game should, by keeping the controls simple but the levels, situations and strategies complex. I mastered the controls in a matter of minutes but still spent an hour or more trying to clear some of the levels with 5/5 stars.
The star ratings for each level is how InXile sucks you in. There are four campaigns available, each with a number of levels that offer you a possible score out of five stars. Stars must be collected to unlock later campaigns and, more importantly, new choppers. Your new chopper will typically have better weapons and a higher damage threshold, but what you’ll really care about is the higher capacity. The more people you can carry at one time, the more people you can save, the faster you can finish levels, the higher the score you can get. The higher the score, the better the chopper and so on.
This formula gives Choplifter HD replay value inside of itself. Rather than replaying the game after you’ve finished, you’ll be going back to finish levels with a better chopper for a better score. The addictive gameplay is complimented by the witty banter of the chopper pilots in a way that causes the game to never get boring. You’ll want to play the levels over and over and there are a ton of levels so you’ll have plenty of chops to lift when you buy this title.
There are no multiplayer modes in Choplifter HD. I think two player co-op could have been fun here, but InXile obviously disagree.
Choplifter HD offers a number of challenging achievements for the completionists out there. 5 starring every level, completing the secret objective on every level and completing every escape mission without killing anyone are just a few of the challenges you can look forward to.
Choplifter HD is a great way to start your 2012 arcade collection. Simple gameplay is coupled with complex and challenging levels to keep you coming back for more. I personally played this game way longer than I meant to and had to go to bed instead of writing this review. Choplifter HD isn’t the deepest game on the Xbox Live Arcade but it is one of the more addictive.