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Video Game / Luftrausers

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Luftrausers is a score attack dogfighting game made by Vlambeer and published by Devolver Digital. The main draw of the game is trying to rack up as much score as you can before you are inevitably shot down. Added into the mix are various combinations of weapon, body and engine to not only vary up the play styles, but also the missions to beat in order to unlock more parts, as well as the background music.

Not to be confused with Luftrauser, a free flash game which Luftrausers is more or less a remake of.

This game provides examples of:

  • Ace Custom: Since you can customize the 'rauser loadout.
  • Ace Pilot: You get to play one, and feel like one too. Enemy Aces will come after you too - they have their own 'rauser-esque craft.
  • Alternate History: According to Vlambeer, the game is set somewhere in the 20th century, when intelligence services could figure out the enemy was working on secret weapons, but not quite what those weapons were.
  • Bullet Hell: The game in general, but also SFMTnote  Mode.
  • Cannon Fodder: Enemy fighters. Barely any health, fires only a single shot at you every few seconds, and are rather unmaneuverable, as they seem to always be putting on the throttle and turning instead of using thrust to rapidly turn the way you do. They overall give off the impression of being heavily inexperienced compared to you.
    • Elite Mooks: Aces. They are a lot harder to take down than basic fighters, and their oversized Rauser-ripoffs can give you some serious hurt if you let them blast you with automatic machine-gun fire.
  • Death Is the Only Option: Your rauser will be eventually shot down no matter what.
  • Design-It-Yourself Equipment: There are five types of hull, weapons, and engine, for a total of 125 combinations. You can unlock them by doing mini-missions.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: The cannon has an immensely slow rate of fire, but lobs a massive projectile that explodes into a ring of smaller projectiles on impact. With enough practice you can lob one at large slow-moving targets like boats with ease or into swarms of fighters to seriously clean house. It can even tear through dreadnoughts with just a few direct hits.
  • Dubstep: The laser and missile weapons and jet/rocket engine give the background music this kind of edge.
  • Endless Game: The game only ends when you are shot down, so the main objective is scoring as many points and completing as many objectives as possible in one run.
  • Energy Weapon: The laser weapon. Reduces your turn rate whilst firing.
  • Fanfare: The normal wubs in the soundtrack will always change to a portentous synthetic fanfare after some time.
  • Fighting Clown: The final ship you can unlock is the Infinity Plus One Sword ship the Urauser. It has every weapon in the game on it and is quite powerful. It has the appearance of a literal flying submarine.
  • Improbable Piloting Skills: Your plane can rotate on a dime so long as the engine isn't on, which gives you the ability to outmaneuver pretty much anything. As the saying goes, thrust vectoring owns the sky, aerodynamics and G-forces be damned.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The final ship you can unlock, the Urauser, is the most powerful ship in the game, with it having all the in-game weapons on it.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Jet + Heavy. Fast and tough, but slow maneuvering. You can smash through things no problem... though your 'rauser winds up looking a bit like a flying barrel.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Anything involving Laseraces or submarines, because of how infuriatingly rarely they spawn.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The Missile weapon. They're supposed to home in, but often, they'll just fly past enemies.
  • Military Mashup Machine: The submersible aircraft carrier you start from. Your plane too, if you pick a submersible engine.
  • Nazi Protagonist: Downplayed. The protagonists aren't Nazis, but they're Putting on the Reich with serious gusto.
  • One-Man Army: You are just one Rauser... but one Rauser is more than enough to put up a fight. Subverted, however, in that you eventually get shot down no matter what.
  • Painfully Slow Projectile: The Cannon blasts have devastating damage and large area of effect, but move very slowly, so hitting things with them requires practice.
  • Putting on the Reich: The side you're playing as looks like a parody of Nazi Germany, albeit with no swastikas or Roman salute. Word of God says they're not Nazis, though, but some sort of "generic enemy force".
  • Ramming Always Works: One of the hulls facilitates ramming as a tactic. With the nuke body, this can be an effective way to take down a battleship as a grand finale.
  • Recoil Boost: The Spread weapon has knockback listed as its downside. Particularly skillful Rausers, however, can use the recoil to hover above boats and battleships while pumping them full of lead.
  • Recurring Riff: No matter what the mix, the music will always go back to the same sweeping orchestral section at the end.
  • Regenerating Health: Your plane will fix itself, so long as you aren't firing.
  • Retraux: The game is in four-color pixel art (though there are different palettes available), giving it a definite retro look.
  • Shout-Out: About half of available rauser names are references to various media and famous real-world things and people.
  • Spread Shot: The "Spread" weapon is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Super Prototype: Your Rauser, being small, fast, and maneuverable. Your enemy sends 'Aces' after you, which are essentially much larger Rausers that cannot auto-repair.
  • Take That!: Before Luftrausers was released, a shameless ripoff called Skyfar was made. It had the tagline "War is my Distiny." Vlambeer responded by making one of the color schemes in Luftrausers the same as the one in Skyfar. The name of that color scheme? Distiny.
  • Taking You with Me: This is the whole reason for the nuke body. It makes you explode in a glorious fireball after you have been shot down, racking up a nice amount of points for your final score.
  • Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay: The best way to ensure that bombs dropped by the Bomber hull land on target is to fly straight downwards while dropping them. In real life, it's called "dive bombing", and reached the peak of its usage in World War 2, which is the main era Luftrausers draws its aesthetics from.
  • Variable Mix: The music track changes depending on which parts you have selected, with parts defining either the bassline (engine), drums (weapon), or lead (body).
  • Villain Protagonist: Again, according to Vlambeer, the side you play are not Nazis, but they're still considered "bad guys" that "our side" is spying on.
  • Weaponized Exhaust: One of the engine options can essentially be summed up as 'propelled by bullets'.