Choplifter HD Review (XBLA)

Game: Choplifter HD
Genre: Shoot ’em up, Strategy
System: Xbox 360 (XBLA)
Review By: MrB4

There are times in life in which we are presented with a challenge that reminds us of just how little we actually know. After going head to head with Choplifter HD, I have to say that my skills as a gamer were not as refined as I thought they were. The truth about this statement is the fact that life sometimes works for and against you at the same time, and it’s up to the you to decide whether or not to give up or just roll with the punches. That being said, this is still one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had with a downloadable game in quite some time, so let’s find out if it rises to the occasion, or becomes a pile of scrap metal that nobody cares about.

Fun Factor: This is a tough call for one reason in particular.  Everything that was taking place onscreen was exciting to watch, but not so exhilarating to pull off, mainly because the level of challenge between one level and another was completely unbalanced. There were moments where I was having a great time, destroying everything in my path, but never felt like I was completely overwhelmed with what my character had to do. Every once in awhile though, a stage would put so much on my plate to the point tghat having fun became more of an afterthought, and all I wanted to do was complete it because it was frustrating me to the point of insanity.

Gameplay: Every action performed, from moving the helicopter up and down, to shooting the machine gun, to turning it from side to side to hit enemies in the background and foreground of the screen felt tight and responsive. Each stage moved along at a brisk pace, and also threw in a few different gameplay modes here and there to keep things from getting boring, which added in a much needed amount of variety to an otherwise straightforward experience. Sometimes you may have to blow up a number of different enemy bases, escape out of a highly dangerous warzone with limited fuel, avoid incoming jet attacks, or take out a group of zombies before the whole world is taken over by them; the possibilities are endless. My only problem with the gameplay is that it was sometimes hard to figure out who was an enemy, and who was an ally, a little more clarification on that would have saved me from making some really dumb decisions later on in the game.

Graphics: Nothing special, but definitely not the worst I’ve ever seen on a downloadable platform. Environments look beautiful, and have quite a bit of detail to them. The helicopters look ok, just wished the designers did a little bit more with each one to make them pop off on the screen instead of blending into the background. Character animations are decent, the framerate was solid, and the explosions were an absolutele delight to look at as well. Overall, a solid presentation on all fronts.

Sound: This is easily my favorite part of the entire game. The in-game banter between the two pilots was hilarious, and definitely calmed me down during some of the more difficult parts of the campaign. Background music fit each situation appropriately, but became very repetitive after awhile due to a very limited track list. Sound effects were solid, weapon noises and explosions sounded exactly like they were supposed to, and the crunching noise that occurred every time I landed my helicopter on top of an enemy was cringing, yet completely satisfying.

Replayability: No multiplayer mode does take away what you can do once the single player missions are over, but there are definitely enough features included here to keep you coming back for quite awhile. Each mission has a star ranking attached to it that can unlock points for people to use to buy more powerful helicopters. Leaderboards will allow you to compare scores with others, and the achievements are so ridiculous that you will just have to get them just to prove how strange you really are.

Choplifter HD was a unique experience unlike anything I have ever played before on XBLA. If you don’t mind a little bit of a challenge, then by all means download it now.

Final Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Choplifter HD
Developer:  inXile Entertainment
Publisher: Konami
Metacritic: 64
MSRP: 1200 MSP ($15.00)