• Santiago Cuberos

Review: Project Wingman by Sector D2 and Humble Games

Updated: Aug 5, 2021

After many years of anticipation and a long development cycle, Project Wingman finally took off on December 1st, 2020. This game, which takes heavy inspiration from other flight arcade titles but primarily from Project Aces' Ace Combat franchise, has a lot going for it but at the same time there are some things that do need to be addressed.

As usual with my reviews I will separate this into several categories so that you, the reader, can formulate your own judgement as to whether this game is for you:

  • Introduction and origins

  • Environments, art style and UI design

  • 3D assets and Textures

  • Story

  • Gameplay

  • Conquest Mode

  • Day-one bugs/problems and the future

  • Is this game for you?

Thanks to Prov, Hueman, Ribbon-Blue and BillytheKid for their contributions to this article. Also, thanks to Humble Games for the press copy of the game, much appreciated!


DISCLAIMER: Humble Games gave us complete creative freedom over this review and the opinions that will be written are my own.


WARNING: This review will contain spoilers for this game's story. These will be contained in the STORY section of the review or when explicitly disclaimed.

INTRODUCTION AND ORIGINS

Project Wingman (PW) as a game has its roots all the way back in 2016 with the first 0.1.0 Alpha versions of the game. These, as its natural for very early WIP builds, were very rough but showed a lot of promise from the very beginning. After two years of development and various very interesting public demo releases, the developers decided to start a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to fund the project in order to be able to develop a fully fledged-out game.


The team was a small group of three individuals, the most crucial of them all being RBD2, the main developer/art designer/sound designer/almost everything game dev related behind the game. He served as the driving force behind the project, being the one that started it all. Alongside him were FlyAwayNow, the Producer Manager, and Jose Pavli, the song writer behind the game's soundtrack. A small thing with very big goals.



Unsurprisingly, their goal of 35.000AUD was not only met but surpassed threefold with a total of around 115.000AUD having been raised by the end of the campaign. The demo version of the game which was tailored as a showcase for the Kickstarter campaign is still available. After two more years of final development and a couple of delays, the game finally dropped on December 1st, 2020 to very positive public reception.


Now, let's go look at the game itself.

ENVIRONMENTS, ART STYLE AND UI DESIGN


Even at the very start, with the first alpha builds of the game, PW has had a rather unique art style and art direction while also letting itself be inspired by UI layouts from other flight games.

The color pallet used seems to be more grounded, less flashy which lends itself really well to the somewhat prevalent bleakness of the environments.The game was built around Unreal Engine 4, which does lend itself to some absolutely stunning visuals if utilized correctly.


Environments are varied as well. From mountainous regions to deserts, oil rigs, lava deposits, cities and tropical islands. I think it is better if I show you some examples so you can judge for yourself (POSSIBLE LOCATION SPOILERS).



The UI is very stylish, opting for a sort of canted and angled look to its elements which blends well with the rest of the game while also allowing for a bit more viewing space for the player. I have some small critiques such as the use of post processing on the UI itself which can make it look fuzzy and unfocused. There is also the difficulty in reading some of the distant UI elements of the HUD such as the names on named Ace enemies.


One fact that I do like about the UI is that it is rather customizable, allowing the player to change its color, scaling and even the subtitle position on the screen. A good UI is one that gives the players all the information they need without getting in the way and this one surely accomplishes that.


UI example during combat

It is also worth mentioning that the developers are still tweaking some aspects of the maps, which they have already done by giving a couple of maps a lighting re-work that fixed some of the complaints that the community had (patch 1.0.4C). This is something I will mention later in greater detail, but the fact that the devs are listening to the bug reports is very important.


Another very important aspect of this game is its soundtrack. Composed by Jose Pavli, this OST has a lot of amazing songs that fit the game very well. One of the best examples I can give is Mission 11's song, Showdown. It is a song that reminded me of one of the most famous songs from Ace Combat 04, Comona. But it also does not let the inspiration take control and defines itself very well. Have a listen: