Boogie Wings is a horizontal shmup where you take control of a red plane and wreak havoc against an army. What makes this plane special is that it has a hook dangling from it which allows you to get objects like statues, car or even people and toss them at your enemies for big damage. Every time you respawn you start off with a screen clearing bomb on your hook so you will have to use that before you can grab anything else. There are no introductions here, the first thing you see is you escaping from a crumbling building and then it is straight into the fight. The story is revealed during the finale though it is nothing special, just a bunch of text and it didn’t really need it. You can choose to skip the story by saying no when someone asks if you are ready to listen. All you have to know is that the ghosts, planes and giant mecha Santas shooting at you are bad. Fighting tooth and nail is necessary as this game is brutal and the slightest brush against an enemy will send your plane crashing down.
Not all is lost if your plane is sent tumbling down after an untimely demise. Your character being the determined person that he is continues to fight on foot which opens up a lot more possibilities like shooting behind you, ducking and jumping out of the way of projectiles. You have a weak gun while on foot though you will have much more maneuverability and are able to pick up objects far heavier than should be possible and can throw them at passing enemies as if you were The Hulk. If you are shot while on foot that is when you die and lose a life. Luckily for us there are a wide variety of vehicles we will be able to drive if we come upon them such as scooters, giraffes, robots and other wacky vehicles. Once in one of these vehicles and if a bullet hit’s you, your vehicle will be destroyed and it is back to being on foot. Getting in a vehicle effectively grants you the chance of taking an extra hit and with how many different kinds there are laying around it is tempting to crash your plane to be able to try them all out.
When all is said and done however, your plane is still the most powerful combat machine you have. The longer you manage to keep your plane alive the more powerful it gets. After a while it will start shooting more projectiles at once and keep it alive even longer to be able to shoot lighting all around your plane for a short while. There are also a few powers that allow you to either speed up your plane or slow it down and one to power up your plane faster. Nothing interesting and I don’t usually go out of my way to collect them. What is interesting are the environments you will fight in. In a single level you will see a runaway Ferris wheel, a football stadium and a haunted mansion. There is always something silly happening in the background which adds personality to this game and will likely have you grinning. For no reason whatsoever an unkillable dog happily follows you around from time to time, barking and wagging its tail. Little touches like these gives the feeling that the developers had fun building the environments.
After the first level is done you are able to choose in which order to tackle the other five. All of them feel pretty lengthy and fun minus the last level. The last level has you going through factory machinery placed meant to screw you over. That’s not unusual for a final level of any game but the amount of mashing the attack button against immovable objects was a bit too much to be any fun. Speaking of button mashing the bosses feel way too bullet spongey and while fun to look at, it can get a tad annoying shooting a boss with little signs of it going down anytime soon. Being better at this game than I am and having your plane powered up will resolve that issue however. It’s a game that rewards the skilled and munches on the quarters of those with the reflexes of a blind turtle like me. If the game was a single quarter a continue then I would have easily wasted over 10 bucks to go through it. I never felt like I wanted to stop playing to its credit and I am likely to come back for more.
Music is fast paced and suits the action just fine. It is neither good nor bad and gets the job done. Same deal with the sound effects. One slight annoyance is the death scream of your character. It sounds way too similar to those of your enemies and leaves you wondering if you just died or was that the enemy. It does not serve well at all as an indicator and confuses more often than not. Graphics still hold up in my opinion and are packed with both detail and tons of enemies to destroy. At the end of the day, Boogie Wings is a fun and unique game that is a joy to play even if you are terrible at it. If you are a fan of shmups this is a title well worth trying.