GDC 2018: Curve Digital’s Bomber Crew Hands-On Impression

Monday, April 9th, 2018

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Bomber Crew | Logo

Platform(s): Steam; Nintendo Switch
Publisher: Curve Digital
Release Date: Out Now (Steam); 2018 (Switch)
Bomber Crew Website, Twitter

When I think of World War II video games, I think of first-person shooters such as the Call of Duty and Battlefield series. So it was a great surprise for me to try out Bomber Crew, which was developed by Runner Duck and published by Curve Digital, at GDC 2018.

Bomber Crew is a simulation game where you are flying a fully crewed Allied aircraft during the ‘War against Hitler’. The gameplay is (deceptively) simple: you are to manage all of the crew, shifting them around from position to position in the aircraft, while shooting down Axis aircraft, bombing targets on the ground, collecting powerups, and then ultimately landing the craft.

Whereas a lot of games will focus on the deep minutiae of running the aircraft and all the individual details, Bomber Crew is more about the big picture of directing the characters around the plane and setting them on their individual tasks to do at their particular station. These jobs range from being a pilot, gunners, a dedicated bomber, and more. And while these characters are all moving around, you have to scan the sky for enemy targets to ‘paint’ for your gunners to shoot down, targets for the pilot to head towards and the bomber to drop bombs on, and direct the pilot to gas powerups that keep the plane fueled to stay afloat.

Bomber Crew | Pick Targets

Bomber Crew | Pick Jobs

In the top image, you look around in first-person for Axis airplanes for your gunners to shoot down. In the bottom image, you can see how you have to direct the many members of your crew around to different stations to keep the plane flying smoothly. (Images courtesy of Curve Digital).

During my time with Bomber Crew, I was able to try it out on the Nintendo Switch and try out first a tutorial stage and then an endless runner mode. In both modes, I quickly realized that while the concept of managing an aircraft crew sounds simple, in practice it is anything but. I quickly found myself trying to keep a dozen-plus things straight while my fingers were furiously flying over the Joy-Con. For example, while I was trying to set up a bombing run and painting enemy targets for my gunners to shoot at, I was also tasking other people to try to keep my injured crew members alive (when you take damage from being shot at, your crew can get injuried or die). And on top of all this, I kept having to designate people to go repair the plane as it continually got shot at. Bomber Crew is a game that makes you think and relies upon muscle memory to make sure you move people to the right places as needed on the aircraft as quickly as possible. This was, at the end of the day, fun to play, and while I was terrible at it, I was eager to jump back in and try again. The Nintendo Switch is a perfect platform for Bomber Crew due to the pick-up put-down nature of the console, and how the missions flowed while using the Joy-Con.

Bomber Crew | Customization

In the final release, you will be able to customize each member of your crew to your liking before setting out on a mission. This wasn’t available in my demo of Bomber Crew, however. (Image courtesy of Curve Digital).

Bomber Crew came out last year on Steam, but the endless runner mode is a new addition for the Nintendo Switch. This is a great addition, both because it was fun and because there will now be even more of a reason for seasoned airmen to come back for a second go-through. The only thing I really disliked about Bomber Crew was that there was no touch controls for the Nintendo Switch while the console was in portable mode. I kept finding myself going from using the buttons to furtively tapping the screen to do minor job details like opening the bomb bay doors. This however doesn’t detract from the game’s overall fun, and I am personally excited to get Bomber Crew when it comes out for the Nintendo Switch (and you should consider doing the same).

Bomber Crew | Under fire

If you aren’t constantly watching the skies, you WILL get shot down – Just like I did. (Image courtesy of Curve Digital).

Bomber Crew is currently out on Steam, and launches for the Nintendo Switch sometime in 2018.



What do you think of Bomber Crew? What position would you like to try out while in a real-life bomber?

Let us know in the comments below!

About Quentin H.

Likes pina coladas and getting caught in the rain. And video games. Cannot forget those video games. Anime too. Should not forget that either.