Review: Iron Sky Invasion (PS3)

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Title: Iron Sky Invasion
Format: Blu-ray Disc
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: TopWare Interactive
Developer: Reality Pump
Price: €39.99 (EU), £29.99 (UK) / €59.99, £39.99 (Götterdämmerung Collector’s Edition)
PEGI: 12
Iron Sky Invasion is also available on PC and Xbox 360. 
The PlayStation 3 version was used for this review.

Iron Sky is a Finnish science fiction, comedy film directed by Timo Vuorensola.  It’s about a small band of Nazis, who in 1945 escaped Earth to settle on the dark side of the moon, where they lay in wait for the next 70 years planning their revenge.  This game follows on from the where the film left off, putting you in the cockpit of an advanced space fighter.

You’ll have to use your skills as a pilot as you face numerous enemy ships, from the Valkirie to the  terrifying Götterdämmerung, which in Norse mythology refers to a prophesy that tells of a war of the gods that bring about the end of the world. So can a combination of comedy, free roaming space combat, Nazis and a sprinkle of real time strategy actually turn out to be a good game?

Gameplay:
A space combat simulator game is hard to find nowadays and most gamers today probably have never experienced the genre. Well Iron Sky Invasion is all about the space combat, set in the Iron Sky universe. It begins just after the film ended and by the looks of it the cast and visual effects remain intact, which is nice.

The story is broken up into six parts which have many missions and squadrons to take out within each one. During the game various missions will open up, some being optional and often quite funny. At one point I had to defend an Indian Satellite which I later found out wasn’t for military use but because it was broadcasting the country’s biggest concert. Okay, before I go any further I should point out for any people who haven’t watched the film, it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It isn’t afraid of portraying stereotypes and poking fun at everyone, including themselves. The game follows the same philosophy.

Iron-Sky-Invasion-01 Iron-Sky-Invasion-02 Iron-Sky-Invasion-03

You slowly get different ships which handle and look quite different. You are able to upgrade most of them by spending the money you get from completing certain objectives and selling any salvage from destroyed enemy ships.

On the map screen you always see Earth on the left side, all the enemies are slowly moving towards the planet from the right and it becomes a tactical nightmare choosing which squadrons to engage as any let into Earth’s atmosphere means a point deduction. However this point system is only used for the leaderboards.

Another tactical element is balancing your ships energy. All of your systems slowly recharge but with a simple button press you can also send more power to either the engine, lasers or shield.  There is also a target lock-on which is very useful, especially as you can target certain parts of the enemy ships, like their cannons or engines. Some ships are weaker on their underside or take out their engines and they become a sitting duck.

It’s not a long game and finishes quite abruptly which is a shame as it shows a lot of promise in the first half. With little to keep me playing it would have been nice to see some more side missions or other modes.

Iron-Sky-Invasion-Space-Craft
Visuals:
It’s not pushing the boundaries of what the console can do but I didn’t find anything wrong graphically. It’s very satisfying when you’re in the midst of battle, lasers shooting across the screen; you bank sharply to avoid slamming into a gigantic enemy ship and then you get a fighter in your crosshairs and unleash your arsenal on them.

Space stations and enemy craft look good, all modeled in three dimensions, with enough variety to tell them apart. It would have been nice to see a few lasting pieces of debris when taking out larger ships but the explosions and lens flares more than make up for my nit picking.

I particularly like the effect when you warp to a location, the screen trembles as your craft shoots forward, the perspective shifts and things seem to race past the screen. It’s a brilliant effect which I never tire of looking at.

Audio:
It has some of the cast from the film doing a fair amount acting and voice work, which helps continue the story and provide some humour. I did notice the occasional problems with missing speech on some video overlays, but it seemed to sort it’s self out when I briefly paused the game. On one occasion all the audio cut out apart from the engine sound, the only way to get it back to normal was to exit to the XMB and restart the game.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is single player only.

Conclusion:
One of the strangest combinations makes for one surprisingly good game. This game definitely isn’t for everyone, but underneath the bizarre fantastical world of this game lies a very accomplished space combat simulation. With just enough tactical strategy to keep it fun and sustain a sense of urgency.

Fans of the film will instantly feel right at home with the comedic remarks and story, but if you haven’t watched it then a fair amount of this game will seem a little strange. Apart from the audio problems and the length of the story I did have fun playing this game.

Score: 
7.5

Buy this game from Amazon.co.uk:

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