Project Wingman is a wonderful debut title from new indie studio Sector D2, and the result of a successful Kickstarter campaign from 2018. It’s an arcade style flight combat game, and available in both standard and VR modes. For this review, I played the standard version from Steam.
Project Wingman sets out to do a lot, but it succeeds in almost every way. This type of game is pretty far from what I usually enjoy for a variety of reasons, but I still had a ton of fun with this game. As a flight simulator, Project Wingman gets everything right. A great deal of polish and care went into making you feel like a pilot, and it succeeds. At first, there is a hard learning curve as the game does not do the best job of explaining what anything does. I strongly recommend playing the free flight mode first. It’s a mode with an open world and no enemies, so you can practice and learn the many controls without interference. The control system is very complex, but by the time I successfully cleared the first mission they started to feel very intuitive. The nature of the controls actually adds a lot to the game: it makes you feel like a real fighter pilot in control of a sophisticated aircraft. You can pull off a lot of nuances with them, and it is easy to imagine the crazy air maneuvers that could be accomplished by skilled players.
The game puts an impressive amount of effort into being accessible to players of all kinds. As I mentioned, I’m not very good with these kinds of games. I’m not really a fan of dogfighting or war games, I have really bad reaction time, and I know absolutely nothing about planes. Yet, I was still able to enjoy my time playing. This was due to the game having a variety of difficulty settings, plus plenty of accessibility and control options. Don’t worry masocore gamers, the game can go up to very hard so if you’re looking for a brutal experience, it’s definitely here. The controls are that perfect balance of being surface level easy for less skilled players, but offering a ton of complexity for those who wish to explore it.
The game also offers a ton of different planes you can unlock by playing, and they all offer different stats and abilities. You can also further customize the planes you buy with different weapons and tweaks. Playing with all the different planes also keeps the gameplay fresh and fun. Plus trying to unlock and learn all the new planes adds a great reward and progression system.
The game is great in more ways than just the controls; everything is gorgeous, realistic, and always finds a way to visually change things up. The maps are always in different settings, the planes have a variety of unique models, and the cinematic parts have great shot compositions. During my playthrough, I had a consistent frame rate and did not experience any type of glitches. The music and sound design are also spectacular, every explosion and missile fire sounds so satisfying. The voice actors are great, and they don’t interrupt or annoy you while you play.
The campaign mode actually has a unique and original story, and it doesn’t drag on forever. Unless you are trying on very hard, the campaign is five hours at most. Every level is original and is a great way to master the controls and complexities of the game. I had fun throughout the entire experience, and the story has a compelling context for the gameplay.
There is even more beyond the campaign in this game as well. As I mentioned before, there is a free flight mode which is just a sandbox to practice in. There is also a mode called conquest, where you try to clear endless waves of enemies. This mode is so well fleshed out, it almost feels like it could be it’s own separate standalone game. They also added a bunch of optional modifiers to this mode which allow you to really customize the experience and it adds a ton of content to the game.
Project Wingman is a masterclass of its genre, and anyone even remotely into this type of game will have a blast. It beats out many AAA titles and is impressive for an indie debut. It is well worth the price and provides a ton of quality content. The level of polish and care in this game is incredible. If you also have access to a VR set up, this is also a fantastic immersive experience worth checking out.
Score: 9 out of 10
Reviewed on Windows 10 PC