Sometimes, a game comes my way for review and I put a request based solely on the title. From developer Katsu Games and publisher Hound Picked Games comes Dogfight: A Sausage Bomber Story. A game that I put a review request in based solely on the title.
“Arcade shoot-’em-up action is back! Team up with the entire family for explosive action, signature humor and thrilling adventure. Join the Sausage Bomber Corps for daring missions to defend the nations of Relishtonia and more against the world-conquering ambitions from the mysterious Vega Nation.”
From what I gather, Sausage Bomber was a mobile game released back in 2017. It was a simple ‘one-click’ type game and a bit like Angry Birds… but with sausage bombs. Dogfight: A Sausage Bomber Story is a spin-off/sequel that switches the genre to a classic, arcade 2D shooter. And if there is one thing that I have a weakness for, it is a classic, arcade 2D shooter.
Bright and cartoony graphics, up to 4-player local co-op, multiple characters, unlockable weapons, changeable weapon combinations, massive boss fights and more. Dogfight: A Sausage Bomber Story really is a celebration of the glory days of the side-scrolling shoot ’em up. All topped off with some food-based humour.
What you get here are nine missions spread out over a food-related map. There are four characters to choose from and plenty of bad guys to shoot down. You can equip two weapons at a time, which can be swapped and changed between missions. Usually, you’ll opt for a primary and a secondary weapon. Primary weapons come in all the usual flavours, from basic machineguns to multidirectional shots, spread, homing missiles and more. The secondary weapons are mostly sausage powered (hence the A Sausage Bomber Story sub-title), these come n the form of (sausage) bombs and even a nuke-thing.
However, you don’t have to stick to the usual primary and secondary weapon setup. Pick two primary or two secondary. Mix and match and find the perfect setup for each level. This is an element of Dogfight: A Sausage Bomber Story that I really enjoyed, the freedom to chop and change the weapons as you wish. Still, these weapons need unlocking first and the way to do that is to earn stars on each mission. You earn stars by performing well on those missions. To get the maximum stars, you’ll need to not only take out every single enemy, but also finish the mission without losing a life. Basically, you need to be perfect.
You can power up your weapons by shooting down special bonus enemies and collecting the icon that they drop. It’s all very easy to get to grips with and Dogfight: A Sausage Bomber Story is a game that oozes that ‘pick up and play’ style. Missions are really quite short and if I’m being honest, the game is really very easy on the default setting. As much as I do love the shoot ’em up genre of games, I don’t think of myself as being patricianly amazing at them. It did take me over 20 years to finish the arcade version of R-Type. Even so, I got to the end of this game in around 30 minutes or so.
Yup, Dogfight: A Sausage Bomber Story is a very short and a very easy game… on default. There are multiple difficulty settings and as I say, default is easy. Easy setting is a walk in the park. But, playing on the hardest (atomic) setting really took me back to classic shooters of the 80s. Far harder enemies and bosses to deal with, plus it also throws in one-hit deaths. Proper old school action. Then, there is also the option of a ‘speed run’ mode. This throws something a bit unique into the mix as the higher the speed run setting, the faster the game gets. See, as you take enemies out, the game speeds up. The more planes that you blow out of the sky, the faster and faster the gameplay gets (up to 160%). Take a hit and gameplay slows back down. Couple this speed run mode with the hardest difficulty and Dogfight: A Sausage Bomber Story suddenly becomes really bloody hard, especially if you are going for a perfect max star run. Plus, you can make the game even harder by not equipping the best and most powerful weapons.
Out now for all the consoles, PC and with a (roughly) £14 price tag. If you forced me to pick out a few niggles, the first would be that the controls feel a tad ‘loose’. Controlling your plane can take a little while to get used to and the plane drifts just a tad. You also can’t remap the buttons, something that just annoyed me a bit. I reviewed this on the Xbox and the fire button is A but the secondary fire is B. With how my thumb rests on the A button, it made pressing the B button a bit awkward. Having the secondary fire being the X button would’ve made more sense. However, the X is used to flip your plane 180° horizontally (oh yeah, you can flip to attack enemies behind you). Then, both of the shoulder buttons are also used to flip the plane (that’s three buttons assigned to the same thing), meaning that the X button is free to be used for secondary fire… but you can’t remap.
This lack of remapping is even more frustrating seeing as Dogfight: A Sausage Bomber Story comes with several great accessibility options which help to make the game, well more accessible, unless you want to remap the buttons. I do think that the short length will put some hardcore shoot ’em up fans off too. Still, this is a fun game while it lasts. The easy difficulty works as a great entry-level shooter for people not too familiar with the genre. That difficulty can be tweaked and increased for more experienced players too. Even so, you’re looking at around 3 hours to unlock all of the weapons and short of going back to try and better your score/time, there’s not a great deal of replayability.
A few more missions and gameplay modes really could’ve added to the value here. Overall, Dogfight: A Sausage Bomber Story is a great little shooter with a wonderful sense of humour with bright and colourful graphics. I’d love to see more games made as I think this could be a great franchise.