Are you a fan of aerial and mech combat? Mixed with a dash of anime melodrama?
Then Wing of Darkness just might be the game for you…
Wing of Darkness is a third-person, flying-mech shooter that has a very smooth, arcade-like feel to its controls. Although, sadly it does lack the grand-scale impact and flair of similar aerial warfare games like Ace Combat. But don’t get me wrong, by no means is this game bad. It just has as a couple of aspects that fall a little short of expectations.
All The Anime
The story in Wing of Darkness follows our two main protagonists, Klara and Erika as they take on various missions to fight an alien threat known as the Blankers. And the one weapon capable of destroying them, called the Held System, can only be operated by a select few, quote unquote “exceptional young women” called Frauleins.
Why is that the case, you ask? Well, because anime. That’s why. Regardless, the narrated storyboard cinematics and the in-game interactions between the two leads fits just right. They very quickly begin to grow and deeply care for one another and there are some full-on, emotionally-charged scenes, especially towards the end of the game.
Oh, by the way – did I mention that Wing of Darkness is dubbed exclusively in Japanese?
Shout-outs to main actresses, Kiyuno Yasuno and Chihira Mochida, they do an amazing job portraying these characters. Oh, by the way – did I mention that Wing of Darkness is dubbed exclusively in Japanese? However, the actual story itself comes across as a little too uninspired for my liking. Doesn’t help that the whole experience is only around 5 hours long, which does make the overall narrative feel rushed.
Wing of Darkness Feels Intuitive… But Doesn’t Offer Much Else
Same goes for the gameplay. The mechs are fairly easy to master and feel very intuitive to control, but it does start to get a bit stale after a few chapters. Wing of Darkness basically just has you taking down a bunch of flying enemies and capturing opposition bases… By taking down enemies.
So one or two extra mission types or some various limit break power-ups could’ve worked really well here.
That being said, it is a joy to fly around, boosting over battlefields and locking onto enemies, whilst switching and firing two weapons at once. It’s a simple, yet satisfying take on the aerial warfare genre that anyone can get into. Each difficulty besides the hardest mode, has a mech-shield and ammo that constantly refills too. Plus, collision damage isn’t a thing in Wing of Darkness, which means you can fly around just like Super Saiyan Sonic!
Not once did I come close to dying, even on the highest possible setting.
Unfortunately, playing through the game’s six chapters on normal difficulty wasn’t really a challenge at all. Not once did I come close to dying, even on the highest possible setting. The biggest concern with paradoxical mode is ammo conservation, which means you’ll be constantly locking onto airborne enemies that love to zip and dart all over the place. And if you’re a normal human being, expect to be having a massive headache about 5 minutes in.
Design Aesthetic & Performance
Good thing is the HUD is straightforward enough for locating each of the hostiles, as well as reading your mech’s vitals and weapon-related information. Nothing on-screen ever gets too chaotic to focus. This includes the frame-rate, which can dip a little when there’s a tonne of action happening on the Nintendo Switch. Although, most of the time it’s generally stable, hovering around 30FPS.
Presentation-wise, the main characters’ mech designs are awesome and feature this futuristic aesthetic, but the same can’t be said for the enemy vehicles. Since almost half of them don’t have an actual physical model, you’ll pretty much just be shooting at a target reticle. The ones that are visible feel like they belong on the PS2. And the closer you get to certain objects, the more their low-poly textures are revealed, taking away from the overall experience.
Wing of Darkness’ Stellar Soundtrack
What doesn’t detract however, is the game’s music! Wing of Darkness has this stylish mix of genres like trance, hardstyle, breakbeat and rock which will definitely get you in the mood for some high-octane action. I’ll admit I did pause the game and start dancing the around the room when I heard some of these tracks. The melodies and beats just have this unique flair to them and blend together so gracefully.
Should Wing of Darkness be on your radar? Well, if you’re into mech-type games and aerial combat, give it a try. Though don’t be surprised if you reach the credits in one sitting, because this game is really short! There’s a chapter select where you can try out all the different difficulties, but there honestly isn’t much replayability here. The story is entirely linear and may not be for everyone, but the voice-acting and music are ace. Overall, it falls short in a few aspects, but it’s still a fun time regardless.
Wing of Darkness is done and dusted before it ever fully takes off, clocking in at just under 5 hours. Even with the short length, the gameplay still somehow finds a way to become stale very quickly. The music and voice-over are excellent and the mechs feel great to control, though some extra variety or additional features would vastly improve the user experience.
This game was reviewed using a download code provided by Clouded Leopard Entertainment. The Beta Network uses affiliate partnerships, however, this does not influence reviews or any other content published. The Beta Network may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links that are on the website.