In case it isn't obvious from these screenshots, or the title of the game, Apache: Air Assault
is a game about flying helicopters. DEADLY helicopters! The premise is that you play the role of a pilot in various worldwide locales ranging from private military units, national security, or any other organization big enough to warrant employing lethal attack helicopters to handle the dirty work. While the lack of variety can be forgiven considering there is only so much that can be done with a helicopter, Apache
provides good fun for anyone looking for something a bit different in their games.
After a few warm-up levels, you are tasked with a variety of mission objectives including escorts, rescues, infiltrations, reconnaissance, or full-on assault. Each mission is broken into multiple objectives with a few checkpoints scattered throughout. You are also only given a handful of continues to complete the missions before you must restart. For anyone that has ever played any of the Jungle Strike or Desert Strike games of the early 90's, the mission structure will feel very similar. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that Apache: Air Assault is a modern take on the beloved "Strike" franchise of the past.
The missions can be tackled with a friend in local co-op, but the implementation feels off. Two players will share the same screen as one player acts as the pilot, while the other mans the guns. While the controls certainly take some adjustments (more on that in a minute) the real issue with co-op is that if the two players are not on the same skill level, the less skilled player will most likely have a miserable time. Couple that with sometimes confusing controls or HUD (heads up display) and two good friends can be at each other's throats over a single wrong turn.
I struggled with the idea of whether I should even mention online. Every attempt I made to join an online game or host a match ended in a timed out session. Either there is virtually no one playing Apache online or no one bought it. Either way, it is sad because this game is well worth the attention. You are able to make up for lost online time with a free flight mode where you can set up your own mission objectives. You control everything from the weather effects, the number of enemies, ally objectives, amount of ammo, etc. It would be nice to be able to share certain configurations with friends for bragging rights or go all the way with a mission editor, but it is a good place to learn the ropes because Apache is not above letting you fend for yourself.