If you’re in the mood for some classic side-scrolling schmup action, you should look no further than Dogfight: A Sausage Bomber Story!
Developed by Katsu Entertainment, Dogfight: A Sausage Bomber Story is as traditional a schmup as you can get. Outside of two minor mechanics, the game doesn’t do anything vastly different from others in the genre. It takes its cue and design from older schmups with waved-based gameplay and a droppable power-up system, but what it liberally borrows, it does very well.
If you can’t tell by the game’s subtitle, Dogfight: A Sausage Bomber Story comes pre-packed with a cheesy sense of character deep-fried in food puns. The nation of Fredonia is under attack from the Vega Empire and, across salivating-sounding locations such as Relishtonia, Ketchup Isles, and Curry Cave, you take on the role of one of four members of the Sausage Bomber crew – elite combat pilots whose job it is to give the Vega Empire the sweet taste of freedom!
After choosing from one of four pilots you’re dropped into the fray with little fanfare. Across nine missions and locations, you’re going to be flying from left to right, shooting down everything in your path. If you’ve got friends on hand (or online) Dogfight: A Sausage Bomber Story also supports four-player drop-in and drop-out co-op play.
Dogfight: A Sausage Bomber Story sports twenty-four different weapons for you to unlock across its campaign, which you can mix and match in the HQ Screen. You can load up two weapons at a time, one for your machine guns or shotguns, and one for your bombs. As you might expect, you’ve got guns that shoot in spread patterns, guns that shoot behind you, and guns that project a steady stream of hot lead.
Your bombs are made from the latest in ground-breaking sausage technology. That’s right, the same sausage technology that revolutionised Fredonia is what you’re now dropping on the enemy. Of course, sausages come in a variety of flavours, such as cluster bombs that beautifully wipe out entire rows of ground units.
New weapons are unlocked each mission, with new weapons typically the optimal choice for the next mission. Like schmups of yore, the weapons can be upgraded in mission from enemy drops, and missions are rated out of five stars on your performance. The levels themselves are very short and sweet affairs that don’t wear themselves out, making it the perfect pick-up-and-play game for when you only have a short amount of time to put into something.
Enemies come at you in waves across the screen, throwing streams of projectiles at you that you’re going to have to dodge. They’ll attack you in helicopters, submarines, and a variety of planes and, if you make it to the end of the level, it’s time to fight a boss that you’ll have to dismantle weapon by weapon. All in all, its schmup design at its most traditional.
The two novel-ish mechanics I can’t say I’ve encountered before are the ability to 180 your plane to shoot at enemies behind you and, if you take enough damage, you have a limited amount of time to mash a button to repair a third of your planes health bar before you crash.
Dogfight: A Sausage Bomber Story is, on its default setting, incredibly easy. What it does differently is scaling the difficulty and game speed according to your performance. Additionally, “Speed Run” mode is turned on by default, which records your times and performance, while also dynamically adjusting the difficulty. Do really well and the game speeds up; take a hit and the game starts to slow down. It’s an interesting mechanic that keeps the difficulty pitch perfect based on how you’re playing at the moment.
Visually, Dogfight: A Sausage Bomber Story is a very pretty 2D game. The enemy designs may not be original, but they are animated nicely. The same goes for the level backdrops that are minimally designed but aesthetically pleasing. One of the nicest quirks is that enemy pilots bail out of their planes or vehicles as they explode, essentially making Dogfight a bloodless affair for those with younger coop companions. If all those extra animations distract you from the swarm of bullets heading your way, you can turn them off. Oh, and the backgrounds too, though I feel you’re losing a lot of the game’s charm by doing this.
Overall, Dogfight: A Sausage Bomber Story doesn’t do anything dramatically different in the schmup genre, but it still offers an incredibly fun time whose short levels and ranking system will bring you back for more – especially if you’re aiming for five-star ratings to unlock all of the weapons. Its clean and cartoony art style, coupled with the game’s humorous approach to its story, make for a pleasant and short diversion that is perfect for quick play, especially if you can get some friends to join you on your mission.
Dogfight: A Sausage Bomber Story (Nintendo Switch) ReviewDogfight: A Sausage Bomber Story (Nintendo Switch) Review
- Nice cartoony art and sprites
- Difficulty level that scales with your performance
- Four player co-op
- Might be too short for some