Reader Review: Warhammer 40,000: Dakka Squadron (Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC)

Most of my younger brothers LOVE Warhammer.  It’s an RPG board game where you play with these intricate figures that you can even paint yourself.  I’ve never gotten into it myself, just too complicated (and expensive) for me.  But then, anything more complicated than Hungry, Hungry Hippos and my eyes glaze over!  Ha ha!  Anyway, one of my brothers, Jeff, loves Warhammer so much that he works at a store that specifically sells that stuff!  Another one of my brothers, Ben, has a huge collection of figures that he paints (very well I might add).  So I thought it would be fun to have Ben review this Warhammer game.  It’s available on most current consoles and PC, but reviewed on Switch here.  –Cary

The game is an airplane shooter, but the controls are questionable at best. This fits well with the lore of the Orkz, but it doesn’t exactly serve the game very well. It should be noted I was playing on a Switch using a controller. This might not be as big of an issue with the PC version. The first problem was that they mapped a mouse to the joystick inside of every menu, making basic menu navigation painful. The sensitivity on the mouse was also too low and had a bit of delay. Meaning you’d have to flick the stick all the way in one direction before it started moving, and when it did start moving, it was difficult to stop and you’d often miss your intended target by a few pixels. The other thing that was egregious is that the boost mechanic was mapped to the up direction on one of the joysticks…the same joystick that moved you left and right. There were plenty of available face buttons to fix this problem, but the game did not use them.

The missions vary wildly in difficulty and are all a bit too long and a bit too vague with instructions. There are some missions that are just straight up annoying. They are also incredibly basic missions with little to no story justifying their existence. They range from “Have a dogfight” to “Destroy these bases” to “Protect this train” and once you complete enough, you gain control over a planet. And that is about all of the gameplay structure I had the patience to figure out.

The game reminded me a lot of Superman 64 in terms of how pleasant it was to control. So, it’s fair to say I did not have the best time playing this game and the initial impression was bad enough to make me put it down fairly quickly.

Where this game shines the most is the flavor. If you like Orkz, which I did, you’ll appreciate the visuals and the attempt to make things lore accurate. But it will disappoint when it comes to just about everything else.

This game attempts to capture the nostalgia of older dogfight games but instead had me thinking about the painful experience of renting Superman 64 from Blockbuster. The port to the Switch could have been done a lot better had it been given more effort and more time.

Final Score: 2/10: the game is unfinished, unpolished, and a painful experience that will quickly push you away. Please take in mind this is specifically the Switch port.

Kid Factor:

The Kid Factor here is interesting. I felt comfortable letting my 4-year-old boy play it while I watched, but it should be noted that it is connected to a wider universe that has ultra-violence, strong language, and lots of horrific war. The game itself also has a very negative atmosphere. The Orkz embrace warfare and violence as a good thing, and they often times show a lack of empathy for the player and they speak in a fairly harsh manner. My son finds it funny, but I would advise playing it with parental supervision under the age of 13. I did not play it long enough to see if there was any poor language in it at all – but the teen rating only rated it for blood and violence. The violence is regulated to plane destruction, and it’s fairly distorted by the graphics. The Teen rating says there is blood, but I didn’t see any while I played. So if it were a movie I’d rate it PG, or a light PG-13. If your child likes this game and wants to know more about the Warhammer universe – I’d recommend getting Mom or Dad involved for guidance.  –Benjamin Woodham

Hey this is Cary again.  I just wanted to brag on my brother Ben here.  For Christmas he used his Warhammer paints and 3D printer to make me a Pac-Man statue, and I thought that was cool.  So here is a picture of it.  –Cary

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