Sand swirled around me! A pyramid rose before me! The mummy’s curse had struck again…wait, what? Today we’re NOT playing an anime game? It’s a flight sim? Well, okay then. Let’s take to the skies in Vector Thrust and fly free of the noticing eyes of landbound senpais.
Vector Thrust is an arcade flight simulator that owes a lot to the Ace Combat series. That’s the idea, anyway; since I’m not what you’d call a long-time fan of that series, it’s a little difficult to make comparisons, but I DID play the demo of the first game on a PlayStation demo disc once so I think that puts me in a position of authority here. It’s an arcade-style flight sim with appealing cel-shaded graphics that doesn’t demand that you use a $500 flight stick to enjoy yourself, but it’s a little more realistic than that demo I played in the late 90s.
There’s plenty to do – you’ve got your campaign, your randomized missions, your custom missions and your challenges. You’ve also got a fairly absurd number of planes and weapons to unlock. These vary wildly in their effectiveness. You start with what is essentially a flying family sedan and work your way up to the Porsche by doing challenges and spending points. In particular, I’ve seen other reviews mention that the campaign is exceedingly difficult due to the terribleness of the starting planes and that’s correct; you can win with time and patience, but you’re playing an arcade flight sim, not XCOM.
This doesn’t last too long, though, and if you can get past the starting hump then Vector Thrust is a pretty good time. As mentioned, it’s a tad more realistic than Ace Combat; you can disable your angle-of-attack limiter, traditionally turned on to prevent you from destroying your plane with g-forces, and proceed to…destroy your plane with g-forces. Or do sick moves, maybe. You also have to account for movement a bit more when firing your weapons, so it can take awhile before your accuracy is up to par, especially when it comes to missiles.
Your success will depend a lot on your choice of plane, since you can’t expect a clunker from the 80s to compete with modern-day performance fighters. Fans of particular planes are going to love or hate this. If your bird of choice just isn’t all that great, well…you just need to fly better, I guess!
As mentioned, Vector Thrust uses a pretty interesting cel-shaded aesthetic that sets it apart from your average flight sim. Graphics and sound alike are both pretty great for an indie title, including the voice acting. I didn’t run into too many technical issues either, which was a nice surprise.
Vector Thrust isn’t the new be-all and end-all of flight sims, but it’s pretty decent. It’s worth noting that flight fans who aren’t married to realism are bound to love this one – the sheer amount and variety of content available here is impressive and you’re bound to find something you enjoy. It’s not the most polished game, but for the price it’s a solid choice.