Choplifter HD review for PSN, XBLA

Platform: XBLA
Also on: PSN
Publisher: Konami
Developer: inXille
Medium: Digital Download
Players: 1
Online: No

2012 is now upon us and should bring about some of the best games to hit the market as we reach the final lengths of some system?s life spans.  It is no secret that new systems from Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo are within a thought process of release,   so expect so many outstanding titles as with each end of a system?s life cycle comes some brilliant games.  With that being said, we know already the games that should be great, but how about those games that just kind of slip under the radar due to lack of promotion or even being a DLC game?  Choplifter HD is one of those games that have caught myself and other reviewer?s by surprise and is easily the first surprise title of 2012.

Not since Konami published Firefighter F.D. on the PS2 have they hit the nail on the head with a child like dream come true.  As with being a firefighter, many children dream of taking hold of a helicopter, reaching the skies, and swooping down to rescue people as well as taking down enemies all in one single flight pattern.  While some other games based off of copters have been released, it hasn?t been since the ?Strike? series (Urban, Jungle, and Desert) that have presented such an addicting and replayable experience.  This is due to the fun factor, simplicity, and pick up and play mechanics that provide easy to understand adaption of the controls with a depth and wealth  of content to do it all in.

Choplifter HD allows you to take flight not only by performing rescue operations that consist of civilians, but military personnel, along with defending your flight path to them and destroying increment landmarks of importance along the way.  You?ll make your way through cities, jungles, deserts and more in the effort to be ?the guy? and rescue the helpless and get everyone back safe and sound.  Sounds easy right?  Well as time goes on you will encounter waves of soldiers firing at you with RPG?s that lock on, turrets, and even zombies?yes zombies.  I mean what game doesn?t have zombies now a days, hell even NFL Blitz had zombies.  I guess, we just have to accept the fact, zombies are popular and that are welcome in any genre.  Oh, did I mention you have special appearances from other gaming icons like Duke Nukem and Super Meat Boy?yes Super Meat Boy!

The game is loaded with 30 missions, with the promise of DLC in the future that will include more weapons, copters, and more!  Each levels has numerous objectives and even hidden objectives that will not only merit how many starts you earn from completing each level, but will rank you on your success of survivors and fatalities you cause in your travels.  What?s more the replay factor comes into play not only by trying to better your score, but once you unlock new copters, you can replay old missions with these new flights of fury, thus improving your score and rank on the leaderboards.

The game doesn?t look half bad either.  Using a 2D/3D models, but staying with the side scrolling shooter mechanics, you will witness plenty of detail, without going overboard with realism.  Some of the backdrops do look really nice, especially when weather and damage effects come into play.  Think Rampage but with Helicopters and you should have the gist of where I?m coming from?just put today?s visual prowess in mind as well as it does not look dated.

The musical score and sound effect round everything off quite nicely, whether you are listening to the riveting sounds of mission music, the funny ?charge? bugle sounds, or even the voice acting does a good job keeping things interesting and humorous, especially when Duke lends his vocal talent to the game.

All in all for 15 bucks for 1200 Microsoft points you have a lot of game and reasons to replay for quite some time.  While it may not be Joe Danger addicting, it is right up there and I still find myself going back to try and out do my score as well as the scores of my friends and leaderboard rivals.  Choplifter HD is once again, the first surprise of 2012; let?s hope this is the beginning of a banner year for Konami.

Grade: B+