You could be forgiven for thinking a game called "Thunder Wolves" is some sort cutesy anime game, replete with animals and elemental magic. Well it's not, but I assure you that by the end you will ultimately wish that it was.
Thunder Wolves is a basic arcade shooter that puts you in the pilot seat of an attack helicopter. You fly over various terrain, but only within a tight corridor which in effect reduces the game to an "on rails" shooter. For most missions, you play in third person, with your view set slightly above and behind the helicopter.
There are different skill levels you can choose to play the game at. The higher skills deliver better rewards and power-ups, while casual play allows you take heaps of damage before being shot down. I would have liked to have seen more micro management over the loadout of the aircraft, and perhaps the ability to determine aspects like armor and engines. But, unfortunately, the game is pretty minimal in this regard, and this results in you having no real emotional attachment to your machine.
You have helpful arrows and objective markers to guide you, while targets are outlined in red as they come into range. Point the helicopter at the target, shoot, and repeat as required. For added excitement, they do shoot back, and occasionally you have to drop flares to dodge incoming missiles.
Enemies consist of infantry, sentry and missile posts, boats, tanks, and other helicopters - all of which are delivered to your screen in a sparkling 10 year old graphics engine, with a color pallet that hurts your teeth. What is very evident is this game belongs on a mobile device, not as a fully-fledged PC Game. My graphics card hardly reached "tepid" on the processor heat scale. You never really get up close and personal with the enemy, in fact the way the game is designed you are encourage to hold back at extreme range and blast enemies before they can shoot at you.
There is a back story of course. Spoiler Alert: You are a newbie in a mercenary helicopter team that hires itself out to all and sundry for money and upgrades. The missions follow a formula of destroy this, fly here, destroy something else, then maybe collect this and have a boss fight of some sort at the end. For variety, there are also underground missions or ones where you act as gunner while the AI pilots the helicopter.
All of which is narrated by non-animated cartoon pictures of the other members of your mercenary team, backed with some truly grating accents (Australian ones to further assault the senses.) The soundtrack is OK for about the first five minutes, however the constant drone of the 'copter and repetitive machine gun fire eventually kills any remaining verve you may have had left,
I get what they were trying to do in this game. A simple shooter where you fly around and blow stuff up. There's absolutely nothing wrong with using a tried and tested idea, however it was only ever going to work if it was wrapped in brilliant graphics, with stunning explosions, and topical missions involving terrorists and lots of visceral action of flying body parts (for the hell yeah moments.) Sadly, it never really takes off, instead spinning its blades ineffectually and barely raising the dust on the helipad.
I so much wanted this game to be a mindless shooting blast fest, but sadly It failed to deliver on just about every aspect. Thunder Wolves hit the market about 10 years too late, revealing itself to an audience that expects way more than it delivers. As a mobile game, it would be a hoot, but on a PC it feels too simplistic, and the production values just don't cut it.