REVIEW: Heliborne

I first saw Heliborne as I skimmed through one of the websites where content creators can apply for review keys. Long story short, I didn’t make the cut for whatever reason. Fast forward to 2019 when I saw Heliborne again, this time bundled with some other games on Fanatical. I’m a fan of the vehicle action shooter genre, and the game description sounded promising. I decided to roll the dice, and they came up double sixes! I hit it big with Heliborne.

Developed by Indie studio JetCat Games, and published by Klabater, Heliborne was released in full on October 12, 2017. It’s extremely similar to the Wargaming family of games like World of Tanks and World of Warships. In this case the focus is on Helicopters, but it adds an extra layer with the addition of troops into the mix. It runs $19.99 for the base game, and can be found on Steam or other sites where Steam keys are sold. Additional monetization so far includes DLCs in the form of skins. These ‘camouflage packs’ are cosmetic only skins for your helicopters that give it the appearance of Chinese military patterns, law enforcement pattern, US Marine Corps camo pattern, etc. These packs range from $2.99 to $3.99 in price.

You can play Heliborne solo, or in co-op with up to four people. There is a third PvP mode where you can play 4v4 matches. Maps are set in historical conflict hotspots from the Vietnam era, through the cold war, and into modern day places like Afghanistan. It’s a very casual game in the standard mode, with varying levels of difficulty. You can crank it up with historical and hardcore game modes if that’s your thing, or have more objectives show up at the same time to keep you speeding across the map at all times.

Games consist of flying helicopters from point to point, dropping off and resupplying troops. You can engage enemies on land, sea, and air to support your forces. Trips back to base are required to resupply with fresh troops and ammunition. Progression is very similar to World of Tanks. You can unlock different helicopters with XP earned from missions. XP is universal and can be used to unlock any helicopter, not just the one you used during the mission. Maps are designed for specific tiers of helicopters, from I to IV. You put together a squadron of 3 helicopters, limited only by your choice of United States/NATO or U.S.S.R. factions. You must mix and match to adapt your squadron to the mission, or for versatility. There is a limitation on co-op that all players must choose the same faction that I wasn’t a fan of. I can’t see why it would even matter in co-op. PvP is already open to cross-faction mixing.

The helicopters look sharp and crisp in game, and the terrain looks good graphics-wise as well. Everything looks historically accurate. Even the era-appropriate music is great, though it could use another track or two. It can get a little repetitive sometimes. The sound effects in game are realistic, and really put you into the chaos of battle.

Heliborne has some incredibly unique gameplay. It’s almost like World of Warships without the punishing free to play grind. Development is still active with 2 new maps, 4 new helicopters and more, arriving as recent as April 2019. It’s been a real diamond in the rough for me. I can keep it casual at my own pace, or coordinate with friends for that regular tactical military sim type experience. There is still a small community that can fill up a game if you don’t want to play alone. Mil-sim and shooter fans alike can find something in Heliborne!

Monthly Gaming Intel 2017.4

Twitch Updates

Twitch has added more features to Affiliate status. Affiliates now get a commission when you buy games through their channel. These are going through the Twitch app, not Steam. Be prepared to have more game hubs running in the background! And Affiliates now finally have subscription buttons! You only get one emote as a reward, and I don’t have an emote yet. I’m going to take my time deciding what I want my emote to be. As I don’t expect a flood of subscriptions anyway, I want to have something really unique. Feel free to drop a suggestion below!

E3 Report

I paid more attention to this year’s E3 than any other game convention. I guess the deeper I go into content creation, the more important these things become. There were definitely a handful of games that caught my eye.

  • Strange Brigade: A co-op RPG where you play a team of British secret agents, battling the creatures of myth like minotaurs, mummies, and more! 2017 release.
  • State of Decay 2: I’ve never played a zombie game before. This one is going to be co-op and open world, so it seems like a good fit for me. 2018 release.
  • Monster Hunter World: Lots of my Twitch viewers love Monster Hunter games. This one has dinosaurs, and open world. Nuff said. 2018 release.
  • Anthem: The game I’m most excited about. An open world shooter where you have an Iron Man-type suit to upgrade and fly around in. 2018 release.
  • Battlefront 2: I missed out on Battlefront 1 until recently, but I’m there for this game. It looks at least as good as the first game. 2017 release.
  • Fortnite: Explore the map, scavenge materials, and build a massive fort to defend from alien zombies with your team. A mix of survival, shooter, and tower defense. 2017 release.

Sales

Obviously the biggest news is the 2017 Steam Summer Sale. Literally half my list is on sale. I’ve found it to be better than last year, and so far I’ve picked up a couple of games (Fortified, Left 4 Dead 2) with three more I’m seriously considering (Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak, Angels Fall First, State of Decay). The sale runs through July 5th.

Bundle Starts has an interesting bundle for just $1.49 that includes Guncraft. It seems like a cross between an FPS and Minecraft. You have to build and fight at the same time. I’ve picked up multiple copies (you can get 2 per bundle purchase).  There are a a bunch of games to choose from to fill out your bundle.

Games I’m Playing

Still going strong, Ultimate Epic Battle Simulator continues to be popular content. There were two big updates this month that added 9 new units, 3 new maps, ragdoll physics, and more.

I played several games of Lawbreakers during it’s most recent beta. I had a lot of fun, and actually did well. This is the first FPS that I can remember where I maintained a consistent positive kill/death ratio. That’s the biggest detractor of FPS games to me, being an anchor to my team. I think the Aegis Juggernaut character/class has a lot to do with it. I highly recommend you sign up for the next beta if you haven’t yet.

A couple of tower defense hybrid games have shown up on my radar. Fortified, from the developers of Foxhole, is a 1950s tower defense shooter where you defend the earth from alien invaders with that vintage Sci Fi look. I picked it up for just $4.94 in the Steam summer sale. The other is Orcs Must Die Unchained, a free to play game. Pretty much the same thing but with a high fantasy twist, and a much larger class selection. If you use my referral code/name  ‘ConstantWarfare’ we both get rewards at various milestones.

Games I’m Watching

PvP has finally been added in Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor Martyr. 1v1 and team PvP is now available, with 3 different character classes to choose from. This game is looking more and more appealing to me. I’m mostly holding back because I’m not sure what Inquisitor gameplay would be like as opposed to Space Marine gameplay. Sudden Strike 4, a WW2 RTS, is now available for preorder. By doing so you get beta access and begin playing immediately much like Steel Division. No base building involved as far as I’ve seen, so it’s something I’ll be interested in.

Honorable mentions worth looking at:

  1. Ravenfield
  2. Squids from Space
  3. Crimson Earth
  4. Medieval Kingdom Wars (open world co-op postponed!)
  5. Colony Survival

I applied for keys for these but wasn’t successful. I may pick them up in the future, so they’re staying on my wishlist.

Upcoming Games

The game I mentioned earlier, Fortnite, hits July 25, and is available to preorder now. If you do preorder, you get a head-start release date of July 21st. I’ve seen a lot of interest in this game, and I plan to preorder as well. A few other games I’ve applied for keys for are Solstice Chronicles:MIA (top down shooter), Starway Fleet(space sim), King of the World (RTS), and Panzer Killer (vehicle shooter).

IRL

I saw the Transformers movie and wasn’t impressed. The story was such a great idea, but the way it unfolded was just supremely mediocre. Don’t get me wrong, Transformers: The Last Knight was an OK movie. It’s just not going to restore the franchise back to its original fanfare. It also needed loads more dinobots.

I’ve started assembling my Warhammer 40,000 Dark Imperium starter box. I’ll probably do some kind of an unboxing post in the future, but suffice to say its going well. I’m really enjoying how easy it is to assemble. I’m not sure if I want to sell off the Chaos portion, or assemble them for a friend to play with in the future. The extra money would be nice right about now.

June 2017 Gaming Stats

Monthly Stats