World War II fascinates many people. Whether it is the brutality of each battle, the bravery of the soldiers on both sides, or the political turmoil, it is oddly intriguing. Therefore, when I was offered Until the Last Plane to review, I accepted without hesitation. Now, I’m not a massive history buff, nor am I an expert in aviation, but this game fascinated me nonetheless.
Developed by CarloC and Eastasiasoft Limited and published by the latter, this is a war simulation title. Furthermore, there are fighting elements and a sprinkling of business management. Consequently, it has many strings to its bow, and this helps to keep things interesting.
Until the Last Plane is a little confusing.
Until the Last Plane has a simple approach and multiple stories. The action is broken down across 3 campaigns; USA, Russia, and Germany. Each of these has 3 missions and different measures of success. In each campaign, you must manage your airfield, purchase supplies, and complete each mission. If successful, you’ll earn money, be promoted, and you’ll gain skill points.
Once each campaign runs its course, you are judged on your levels of success. If you are victorious, the next campaign opens, and the game continues. This is Until the Last Plane in a nutshell. Accordingly, its gameplay appears understated and straightforward. However, at first, it is confusing. Though the developers have incorporated a thorough tutorial, the finer points of squad management are poorly explained. Consequently, there is a fair bit of trial-and-error en route.
Thanks to the blend of campaigns on offer, you’ll enjoy a variety of missions. These basic endeavours comprise mini-games that’ll test your reactions and dexterity. Effectively, you are asked to either shoot down an enemy plane, evade an enemy fighter, or bomb a key location or vehicle.
If you undertake the dogfighting tasks, you and your foe have set moves. Subsequently, you can only travel at a set distance as you try to outwit your opponent. Moreover, if either plane finishes in the line of sight of the other, they are shot down and must return to their airfield. The bombing, on the other hand, is easier to understand. You must choose the height to soar as you unload your bomb. Once chosen, you’ll have to stop the moving sights on your target. If you miss, the building/vehicle survives and you return to base. Alongside this, the lower you fly, the greater risk there is of being intercepted by enemy fighters.
Neither of the mission types will test you. However, the victory criteria can be challenging, and you must be mindful of this. What’s more, poor pilot management or a lack of resources will undermine your command.
Pilots and resource management.
The pilots are a delicate bunch. They get stressed, lose morale, and become fatigued. Accordingly, you must rotate your team if you wish to succeed. Moreover, you assign fewer planes to each mission to manage the workload. However, if you do this, you may not have enough planes to complete each task. Subsequently, you must balance your team’s needs with that of each task.
On top of this, resource management is a key mechanic. Every vehicle must be fuelled, reloaded, and repaired. As such, you’ll need to buy each item and wait for them to be delivered. Alongside this, you must have mechanics to complete each job. Therefore, it can be tough to get things right. What’s more, if you fail to repair a plane in time, the vehicle and its pilot will be blown to pieces. Consequently, you’ll want to prioritise repairs over anything else.
Thankfully, things get better because of a generous skill tree. As each mission is completed, skill points are awarded. These are then spent on making your planes faster, more agile, and stronger. This was an excellent approach from the developers as it mixed up the action while balancing the field.
Until the Last Plane is dated.
Thanks to its fixed-screen perspective and pixelated aesthetics, Until the Last Plane is dated. Now, this isn’t a bad thing as it works perfectly with the genre and theme. Furthermore, the sepia colour palette and blocky text age the cinematic further still. Moreover, the basic sprites and simple menus won’t wow you, but they are serviceable and pleasant to look at. On top of this, the varied backgrounds and interesting vehicle designs are pleasant.
The audio is equally suitable. With hard-hitting sound effects and a lairy soundtrack, it is dynamic and aggressive. What’s more, its 8-Bit sounds match the retro style. However, I was disappointed by the lack of acting. With so many cutscenes, it would have been better to have them acted. Instead, you endure a fair bit of text during each mission.
A basic concept needs simple controls. Thankfully, Until the Last Plane is as straightforward as it comes. Thanks to the excellent UI and responsive inputs, you’ll be flying like an Ace pilot in no time. Moreover, the management of resources and the rotation of pilots was a cinch.
With 9 missions of varying degrees of difficulty, this has plenty to keep you going. However, it lacks a free-play mode, and that was disappointing. On top of this, I’d have liked to see a greater variety of missions to keep things fresh.
Until the Last Plane is a fun and challenging experience.
I bemoaned the confusing opening, but once this is passed, the action is fun and challenging. With a relatively deep management system and a thorough skill tree, there are many plates to spin. Accordingly, it’ll keep you busy as you fight for each nation. I enjoyed the fighting, the aesthetics, and the simple approach. Therefore, I recommend you buy it here! Can you be victorious and keep everyone happy? Shoot your foes, bomb your targets, and party like no one is watching.