If you’ve played Steam Birds, then chances are, you liked the game and are looking for more -which is why you found Battle of Britain. Or maybe you just want to try your hand at a new way to experience dogfights, which also makes Battle of Britain a good choice. But if you were looking for an in-your-cockpit-squinting-at-the-HUD-while-pulling-the-yoke kind of action, then this isn’t it. Battle of Britain is a top down real time strategic game that allows you to command a small wing of fighters against a set enemy group. Give them directions and commands and they will try to survive the best they can. Leave them be and they will nothing more than just fly in a straight line. This is a game for commanders, not the followers.
Battle of Britain’s claim to fame would have to be the fact that it plays so closely to the much more famous Steam Birds. But what people do not realize is that they two games, despite having many similarities, have two very unique directions: Steam Birds is turn based. Battle of Britain is played in real time. Yep. There are no take-backs once you order a command (at least, not immediately), so getting things right is a matter of being able to adapt fast and decide actions faster.
The graphics may seem simple and easily forgotten, but they’re polished well enough to have their own sense of aesthetics (but not entirely different enough to not be a derivative of Steam Birds). The worst case of the mirroring blues applies to the user interface design -with the general map layout, arrow commands, and overall look feeling like they were lifted out of the other game. Not really a bad thing -considering that Steam Bird’s UI and overall look was pretty good, which means that Battle of Britain’s visuals are also notably pleasing to the eyes.
Battle of Britain’s challenge levels have a steep climb. The initial stages are basically tutorials for figuring out how the controls and basic mechanics of the game work. The rest of the stages are designed for players to focus on as they play -these stages are not meant to be played on a casual level -leave your planes undefended for a few moments and the enemy fleet will quickly converge on them. Knowing how to systematically eliminate the computer AI will require a diverse set of tactics, simply sticking to one formula will not get you very far. Of course, a few basics apply universally -the most important of all is being able to stay on your enemy’s tail without letting the others get on yours.
We appreciate the fact that Battle of Britain gives players a set amount of units to start off with -this encourages players to think on their feet, as opposed to simply bringing out the biggest guns and upgrades. On the downside, you will always feel as if the odds are stacked against you and you never get any “powerful” planes on your team. Basically, puzzle funs will find the clever tactical challenges fulfilling while those seeking something more action oriented will certainly want to get their fill elsewhere.
The thing about Battle of Britain is that no matter how good a game it is, there is no way to look at it objectively without comparing it to steam birds (which plays a lot more balanced). That being said, there’s something to be said about the potential in the gameplay. And if given a total graphic overhaul and maybe a slight game-balancing, Battle of Britain might turn out to be a pretty good series.