by Marko Susimetsä
reviewed on PC
It is rare enough to see honest advertising these days and Most Wanted Entertainment certainly earns points for not trying to sell their game Thunder Wolves as anything else than what it is. According to the advertising, the game is an arcade-style action game with helicopters, explosions and masses of enemies. All of these claims are true and there are no false claims of RPG elements or a great storyline thrown into the mix, like so many other developers do these days.
Wolf Pack strikes
The game begins with a very brief tutorial where you learn the ropes of flying the helicopters. The controls are very intuitive and quick to master, despite the somewhat awkward placement of some of the controls in the basic keyboard layouts. And, since learning the ropes is so quick, the game throws actual enemies at you during your tutorial flight, putting you in the middle of explosive action right from the get-go. And, thereafter for the rest of the game and through all the missions, you will be mainly holding your left mouse button down to keep your machine guns blazing, while clicking the right button every now and then to launch missiles at the harder enemies – tanks, anti-aircraft guns and whatnot.
The enemies will naturally shoot back at you and you will have to move around and try to avoid their missiles and fire as much as possible. Luckily the helicopters are a sturdy lot (at least on the casual difficulty) and you do not have to worry too much about the enemies for most of the time. Just aim your reticule at the red-outlined enemies and let your guns blaze to see them off to the underworld. The same goes for the environment. So what if you happen to bump into a chimney or guard tower as you hover over the enemy camp? You will simply bounce off and continue your merry chase of the enemy troops.
Story? What story?
The missions are joined together by very brief expositions and discussions between some of the main characters. Over the eight missions that I played (out of the total of thirteen), I could never really follow which of the characters was supposed to be in control of the helicopter – and occasionally tank or some other type of vehicle – and who were merely in radio contact with him/her. But it doesn’t really matter, in the end. The storyline is there simply to bind the missions together and to give you a little room to catch your breath before starting to dismantle the enemy towns, camps, vehicles and personnel again.
It deserves to be said, however, that the voice acting of the characters is surprisingly high quality and you never get the feeling that the actors are actually sitting back in recliner chairs in some studio somewhere and sipping lemonade in between the recordings. The butch men growl and act manly, the female mercenaries sound tough and everyone seems to be taking the situation as seriously as it is possible to take.
As hinted above, you will not always be flying a helicopter during the missions. Sometimes you will be put inside a tank or another vehicle that you must guide through an area – or you must personally guide in (through camera connection, mind you) missiles or depth charges to take out enemy strongholds or submarines. Also, instead of a single helicopter type, you will be unlocking a variety of types – nine in all – that you can choose between before the start of each mission.
Local multiplayer also allows you to share the fun with a friend or an unsuspecting family member. In such cases, your victim can be the gunner on the helicopter and smash away the enemies with you as you wage your personal war against the enemies. Unfortunately, I could not trick anyone into trying the game with me – even my four-year-old daughter refused to try it – so I cannot say how well or how badly it works. One can presume, however, that it will add to the enjoyment.
Good for what it is
You cannot blame a game being what it is meant to be and what it is sold as. Thunder Wolves is exactly what it promises to be and nothing more, nothing less. If you are in for some action, by all means give this game a try. But if you want more from your games than single-minded shooting and explosions, then look elsewhere. You might want to know, however, that the thirteen missions will be over rather quickly and therefore the price at which the game is sold may be seen as a bit high.
Honest about what it is, fast action, casual-gamer friendly.
15 Euros for mere thirteen missions is a bit steep.