Pearl Harbor Trilogy: Episode I (WiiWare)
I’m not the biggest fan of “sim” games: whether it’s driving a car, raising a pet or flying a plane. I find the attempt at realism to be rather tedious – after all I already own pets, I can drive a car if I want and if I want to play around with a million controls to fly a plane I guess I’d learn that as well. Arcade style games on the other hand can be a blast: that’s what Pearl Harbor Trilogy is and it’s a damn fine one.
It’s a port of a portion of a PC release, which is what Legendo seems to spend most of their time on, but like many independent developers the growth in home consoles, and the Wii in particular, has gotten their attention. Whilst I didn’t care much for their WiiWare platformer, this ticks all the boxes for me: intuitive and responsive controls, a decent amount of substance in the form of twenty missions split into two campaigns and fun gameplay that won’t take up hours of your life unless you want it to.
You can play an American or a Japanese campaign with the objectives more or less evenly split between attacking ground/sea targets and shooting down enemy planes. The AI is surprisingly good, forcing you to manoeuvre frequently to avoid enemy fire and you can quickly hit a button to have a look back to see how many bogies are on your six if need be.
There’s three control schemes: Remote, Remote+Nunchuk and Classic Controller. The Remote+Nunchuk set-up is similar to that used in Sky Crawlers, though without the ability to remap the fire buttons to the Nunchuk it doesn’t feel right, so I’d suggest using the Remote on its own which is very intuitive and feels almost like playing Excite Truck – surely one of the best implementations of the Remote tilt sensor ever.
Though the mission objectives can seem a bit repetitive the challenging AI and excellent controls more than make up for it. There’s optional enemy markers and a radar scope to keep you from getting lost and you’ll have so many planes around you it has all the frenzy of a real aerial war, minus having to keep track of your ammo – or the threat of actual death.
Given the number of missions, unlockable planes and an extra pick-up-and-play dogfight mode, this game is an absolute steal at 700 Points. If you have any interest in fast and furious aerial dogfighting action with an emphasis on fun over realism, do check it out; especially since more instalments are promised depending on how well this one sells.