WingNuts is a welcome blend of classic shooting gameplay mixed with top-down 3D graphics. You view your fighter from above and can manoeuvre through 360 degrees while shooting everything in sight.
The game begins with a launch from an aircraft carrier. If your plane is destroyed or stolen by one of the end-of-level bosses you’ll be able to select the next plane to launch from the carrier until you run out of planes or the carrier is destroyed. In either case, the game is over.
There are a number of aircraft (planes, blimps and such like) on your tail and you’ll need to destroy them all to progress. Every now and then a temporal distortion occurs and you’ll be thrown into the midst of yet more enemy forces, which again must be cleared before you can progress. Your nemesis the Baron appears in an animation (or audio) form every so often to taunt you.
The enemy forces are not just based in the air. You’ve got a selection of jeeps, gun emplacements and trucks attempting to blow you out of the sky as well. Using your bombs you can easily take them out – a technique that’s worth remembering for the bosses at the end of each level.
Collecting parachutes will provide essential upgrades to your plane, including weapon upgrades, points, fuel, shields and, in some cases, required components such as microchips. You won’t be able to complete the level if you do not collect these components.
If you grow weary of the scenarios provided, you can use the scenario editor – WingNuts & Bolts – to produce levels of your own. At the moment it’s development software, and not the friendliest thing in the world to use, but Freeverse is actively developing it further.
Ultimately WingNuts 2 succeeds because the concept is so simple. It’s a shoot-em-up through and through, with a number of very nice touches. It’s visually impressive, sounds very good and will run on virtually any machine.
WingNuts 2 provides a stunning level of immediate action, the like of which you don’t normally see in a game of this ilk. However, as the game progresses it suffers the problem of each level being simply more of the same. It’s best suited to being played in short bursts, and in that instance it’s heartily recommended.