Project Wingman

released on Dec 01, 2020

Project Wingman is an independently developed combat flight action game to be released on PC with an emphasis on fun and refined gameplay, true-to-its-roots inspirations, and an engaging single player experience.

Perfect for those who aren't looking for a simulator experience with the ease of pick up and play, all the way to those who want a fast-paced challenging flight action game.

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Coming off AC7, I went into this game with very middling expectations which were quickly blown out of the water.
PW just absolutely oozes passion and feels about as close as a fan-game can get to the 'real thing', so you can imagine my surprise when the credits roll and seeing the dev team was literally three guys and a dream.
If you're a flight-action fan, you know we don't get to be picky, so breathe a sigh of relief that there are fans out there keeping the genre afloat and crafting completely unnecessary tunnel-runs.
Plus, because this is a small indie project, they can throw in cheeky shit like a genuine Pearl Harbor bombing mission and anime mission intro easter-eggs.

A really loving fan successor to Ace Combat, it’s really good! At its best it looks, sounds and plays exactly like a hypothetical Ace Combat 8, with some pretty good ideas of its own like multiple weapon modules and greater air target variety with the airships. In particular I loved the AOA limiter, a lot more intuitive and free than the PSMs of AC7, and insanely fun. Boss fights are also pretty creative here with their railguns, which are a much needed complication from the standard dogfight. The music is also great. A lot of the time you completely forget that this is an indie game, which is a sign of how competent the execution is.
It has some limitations compared to AC, however. Mission variety is not nearly as good as AC5 or 7, with this feeling like a spiritual sibling to AC6 with its grand and expansive missions that largely just have you blowing up either air or ground targets. Tastes differ but in my opinion variety is king in these kinds of games, and some curveballs like AC7s stealth-spotlight mission or AC5s undercover camera mission would have been welcome.
The story feels like a very conscious tribute to AC0 but it’s unfortunately much weaker. The Federation’s characterisation is weaker than Belka and Crimson 1 doesn’t even compare to Pixy’s level of character arc. Crimson 1 in particular felt like a big misstep, the climactic final battle and emotional farewell to him feeling completely out of nowhere given his 5-10 minute total screen time.
Two glimmers of greater things are Prez and Conquest mode. If the fanbase’s fixation with Prez proves anything it's that these games (AC included) could really benefit from some elaborated character interaction. The fact that this entire character is locked behind 2-seater planes is a laudable commitment to realism but it also feels a bit wasteful. Similarly, Conquest mode makes me imagine a potentially better version of itself, with AC7s plane-building mechanic built in and a lot of extra unique scenarios, dilemmas and decisions that would make each run feel more unique and like a full-fledged roguelike. Regardless, it's fun and keeps me booting up the game every now and then for a run in a way that AC doesn’t really do.
If I ever bought a VR headset, this would probably be my #1 stop. Doing those AOA manoeuvres in VR would either be the greatest thing ever or make me instantly throw up, maybe both.

Así es doña, Project Wingman es mejor que los melodramas forzados con cutscenes AAA de CG japonés que son Ace Combat 5 y 7.
Me parece impresionante cómo una sola persona, con ayudas externas puntuales, haya creado un juego lleno de tanta alma. A primera vista casi podría parecer otro juego compuesto de referencias hacia un autor o franquicia consolidada, pero acaba volviéndose su propia obra, sin necesidad de vanagloriarse en ello.
El apartado visual puede caer muchas veces en la categoría del synthwave más casposo (filtro VHS incluido). Sin embargo, el mantenerse tan minimalista, apenas recurriendo a escenas, logra introducirte en un mundo creíble, VEROSÍMIL, incluso teniendo aviones capaces de lanzar 300 misiles, doblando así la cantidad máxima permitida en Ace Combat 7.
Project Wingman es la aceptación de que la guerra real es intraducible a este formato, y decide aumentar su apuesta hacia el tono "anime" todo el rato, incluyendo una misión puramente aérea que hasta logra sobrepasar la legendaria Comona de Ace Combat 4.

"We did It, Monarch! We Saved the City!"

Project Wingman is nothing short from the most impressive Indie game I have ever played, almost passing as a full on triple A release . It's story, characters, music and gameplay are all honestly really great. Whilst it took a while for me to appreciate the ending, upon consecutive playthroughs, the ending brings a great reality check and meta narrative that continues to amaze me. Not to mention, its fun to surprise friends who wanna watch along with the twist at the end. All of whom had reactions of varying magnitude.
This game is great, it'll have you hooked and does a good job setting itself apart from the competition. Give it a go. It's a challenging, and fun experience.
I recommend you play till the mission named cold war to see if the game is for you. After that one though, it really picks up. I think a few missions are bit weak, especially Valkyries Call due to screen clutter, and Red Sea just feels a bit boring after all the insane stuff that preceded it. But good game either way.

The closest we will get to Ace Combat 8 for now. Only fly 2 seater planes or else you won't have your cute tomboy wizzo.