By Chris Picone, 06 May 2023
Flightpath hit the market a week ago and I got stuck into it right away - I love a good scrolling shooter, they're just such a great way to wind down after work and between more story-heavy games. Flightpath's probably a shooter meant more for kids than old grognards like myself but I still enjoyed it.
The backgrounds look great, the ships look great - there is a little dissonance between the two where you can kinda notice that one sits layered on top of the other but for the most part it's pretty well polished. Also, the special effects are quite flashy and it's got some really nice UI and even some decent storyboard cutscenes between battles. There are ten stages, each with wildly differing scenery and enemies (ranging from lava fields to jungles and junkyards) so that's refreshing.
Two buttons: Hold shoot to fire all of your weapons, and you also have a special attack which recharges over time. The most interesting aspect of this game is the upgrade system, which allows you to purchase weapons in several slots - three front-firing slots, two side-firing slots, and a rear-firing slot. There are tons of combinations of lasers, pulse weapons, machine guns, missiles, and other gun types to choose from. Each weapon does come with an energy requirement though, so if you load up too heavy it comes at the cost of being able to recharge your special weapon. The generator also powers your shields but fortunately it's also upgradeable. This is one area that I think probably needs a little balancing. It doesn't take long to save up for all the top gear, but also the premium shields and armour are a little underwhelming, there's no clear trajectory with the weapons (even within groups) and the generator upgrades are all over the shop. The game itself is pretty easy; occasionally you're faced with a challenging pattern of enemies but for most part you can breeze through and even get a chance to repair and upgrade in the middle of each level. And if you do die, you're taken to a "side mission" with an alternative ship, which also treats you to a free upgrade and even brings more coin in for further upgrading your own ship. Flightpath does offer one more nice detail; the story features periodic path choices where you might have to choose between collecting evidence or saving someone. I didn't find that one path felt dramatically different from the other but the illusion of choice is probably enough for kids.
If you enjoy scrolling shooters it's worth a play - if you're a veteran of the genre you'll probably find it a bit too short and a bit too easy, but that's exactly what makes it a perfect entry level shooter for kids.