While drones are becoming ever so popular, it’s surprising that up until now, there haven’t been any games about them, at least that I can think of. EnjoyUp Games, one of the most prolific game developers on the eShop, has come to fill that gap. For the meagre asking price, it’s genuinely not a bad option.
You control your drone with the circle pad as you fly around each mission setting which is set out vertically. You can move horizontally, but only within the width of the actually screen. You begin the game with very simple missions such as supply and rescue. Supply has you picking up medical supplies from one base and transporting them to another, while Rescue has you scouting the area for stranded people, having you pick them up and then sending them back to base.
It’s all very harmless at first, you dodge and weave around environmental hazards such as trees and large boulders, as well as avoiding enemies and rockets that can appear from the ground or flying across your path from the sides. The game likes to surprise you with these enemy hazards right up until the last second. Thankfully it’s pretty easy to avoid them in the early stages.
As you complete each level you can also gain extra medals for completing it within a certain time frame and by not taking any damage. While they don’t add anything to the experience it’s nice to go back and challenge yourself to these once you know how the level works.
As you make your way through the game, it’s not long before your drone comes equipped with a gun. Firing the gun is as easy as hold the stylus on the touch pad, wherever you have the stylus, the gun will fire there. It’s basically a form of the twin-stick shooter genre. Bullets are infinite so you don’t have to worry about running out. You will need to almost constantly fire your weapon anyways as new enemies will appear who will shoot right back at you, be-it a tank or a fellow drone.
One thing you may need to worry about is running out of energy. You have a battery meter at the bottom of the screen indicating how much energy you have left, it looks like it runs out pretty quickly but you don’t need to worry so much. In fact there is at least one recharge point in each mission where you can fully recharge at no cost, as much as you want. Even so, it will take you a lot time to run out completely as when it’s bleeping red, you still have a lot of time before you crash and burn. It’s almost like a false threat.
A bit later on you will acquire another ability. I’m not sure what one would call it, as it serves a few purposes. It gives you the ability to stop time and warp to any point on the screen, even bypassing most enemies. At first you will only be using this to pass through small passages that are moving too quickly to go through at normal speeds, but later on you’ll probably be using it all the time just to traverse most of the stage. It’s a much faster and safer way to progress through the level.
One function it has that either the game didn’t express, or at least express very clearly, is that you can actually freeze some objects. If you press the L button to freeze time, you have hover over certain objects and press B to freeze them. Once you resume normal time, the object will still be frozen.
A stage later in the game had me very frustrated. A wall completely blocked the road ahead, with occasionally an opening appearing to reveal a core. My initially thoughts was to just keep shooting it every time it opened up. It looked like I was doing damage too since it kept changing colour but the battle kept going on and on and on until I finally ran out of energy and crashed. Left scratching my head a little I tried the same method again a few times until I knew I was wrong. My next thought was to stop time as soon as the core appeared, hoping to warp through it. Nope.
I had to ask the developer what to do. Only then did I notice that when I hovered over the core a small prompt appeared on the touch screen (something you won’t be looking at during the game) to press the B button. Doing so froze the core in real time, enough for me to blast it to bits.
I feel somewhere along the way EnjoyUp may have tried to communicate this technique in a previous mission. Unfortunately communication isn’t really a strong point as all tutorials are one-off visual signs here and there with no actual words.
When you get these new abilities, new kinds of missions will be put forward. There are escort missions, defending, destroying and even collecting pieces to build a bridge and putting out fires by collecting water. The variety is one of the strong points of the game to be honest. Especially when they introduce multiple objectives into one mission. Although even with this variety I think they used the “rescue” mission too many times.
These missions are packed into 5 “worlds” each with 5 stages, plus a final boss. So that’s 26 missions overall, which is a nice amount considering most missions are a decent length, especially as the game progresses. Finishing the game took me just over 3 hours, counting when I got really stuck on that later stage.
It has a decent difficulty curve in it. It starts pretty easy but by the later stages it actually becomes a challenge, and not just when I got stuck not knowing what to do. Enemies and hazards can become overwhelming to be honest. So many different hazards can confront you at once and to be honest in the latter stages they became more annoying that anything. You’re dodging rockets coming out of the ground, you’ve got drones and tanks shooting bullets at you, you’ve got a wind machine blowing you way off course, lava plumes and mountains next you, lasers spinning round and round and all the while you’re trying to land and pick up one little dude. It can be pretty brutal.
Now I seem to be complaining a lot, but that’s because it’s these few small issues that prevent RV-7 My Drone becoming a must have title for your 3DS. There’s a good game inside here. It’s simple and cheap looking, but there’s a lot to like. It has enough mechanics and variety to keep you entertained along the ride. I had to double take when I looked at the price. £1.99 is actually a really good price point for this, almost at an impulse purchase level. And if you’re getting the twitchy finger syndrome above the purchase icon, like I often do, then at least you’re not going to get a bad game. You’ll get a decent game with just a few flaws that will keep you occupied for a good few hours at least.
– Mission variety
– Nice amount of content for the price
– Enemies can be annoyingly overwhelming later on
– Presentation and communication are lacking