Airfix Dogfighter is a fun flight simulator that is perfect for the kid in all of us. James Kay's review for the Games Domain says it all about this quirky underdog: |
"Almost every kid - unless they were seriously deprived - had a model aircraft at some point in their lives. Whether it was carefully glued together, smoothed off and carefully undercoated before painting, or whether it just got a slap of silver paint and some transfers glued onto the wings, every single child must have had one. And that is why Airfix Dogfighter will appeal to so many people. You get to fly model WW2 planes around a house, shooting Mom's best china, attacking the enemy base (in the living room downstairs) or blasting through a window and taking on the Hun in the back garden. Excited? You should be.
Another good point about Dogfighter is the cod WW2 atmosphere. And when I say "cod" I mean it's even fishier than Mr. Fish's Fish and Chip shop. Create a pilot, choose a mugshot, and before you can yell "Glue tubes away!" you're flying through over the landing to stop Jerry's latest offensive. To get some idea of the humour I'll give you the brief for Mission Two: "Find American spies. Probably hiding in the kitchen." You can play as either the Allies (British and Americans) or the Axis (Germans and Italians). Neither has any real advantage over the other but you do get different missions and different planes to fly them in. As you might have guessed by now, this isn't a serious sim. For a start, these are model planes so how you're meant to simulate them is a bit of a moot point. Dogfighter is very simple, in fact it's so simple it's clearly aimed at children, but adults will probably find it quite amusing as well, at least in the short term.
There are only twenty missions in all, and you could finish the game in less than ten hours if you put your mind to it. This could be because it's aimed at children but again, Unique Development Studios could have improved simply because both the Axis and the Ally missions are of the same difficulty. If one were harder than the other you could play the easy one first and then get onto the really tough stuff. There's certainly enough playability to keep the player interested but there simply isn't the quantity, and instead of adding more missions, they've added some rather pointless dross.
But what actually does help is the multiplayer. You can play on a network or over the Internet (which runs quite smoothly), and if you get a few mates to fly against you can have a good few hours fun blasting away at each other. But again, there isn't much else to do and ultimately it's a bit like the single player: fun while it lasts, but over all too soon.
On the whole, though, it's actually a darn good game. The planes glide around very convincingly, the humour is very tongue-in-cheek, graphics clear and crisp, and overall it works very well. The only little niggle is that sometimes your planes can get stuck in awkward places when going for powerups, and the engine will toss it around for a while before it gets out. But it always does get out and although you might end up crashing into the furniture the game proved to be very stable and no problems were encountered during the play testing. It's a great game for younger kids, and quite a few adults will also find it tempting, but it's nowhere near long enough and only the very end missions on both the Axis and Ally campaigns will provide any decent sort of challenge. If you can find it in a bargain bin, go for it. If not, well, the kids would always like it."
There seems to be a whole devoted website for Dogfighter multiplayer that is active as of writing this (2016). There are mods too, so you can expect the lifespan of the game to be longer than implied by the review above.
Note: We have been asked by Paradox Entertainment to remove the CD-rip download. The copyrights for the game seem to be in a severe state of limbo so your only real hope of obtaining the game at the moment is through auction sites.
Reviewed by: Underdogs