Features & Use
Judging from the start up screen, Dogfight holds true to the style of the famous Red Baron gaming series. Black and white pictures of WWI planes decorate the menu and are accompanied by epic cinematic music in the background.
There are three main buttons on the main screen:
Pressing Practice starts up the game where you will be forced to complete a Rookie Tutorial before you can actually move on to the real levels.
At the beginning of the game, there is only unlocked plane available for use. There are on-screen instructions for each level explaining what you have to do. At the start, you’ll be reduced to accomplishing the small tasks of flying through hoops and practicing basic flight techniques. It will take a while until you work your way up to real dogfighting.
Personally, I found the game to very difficult with the tilt controls because the plane is very responsive. I am not, however, blaming the game for my poor performance, but I think it’s a bit too challenging for the average user.
Generally speaking, the game looks like it’s been completely ported from an old PC game with all of the features. You’ve got to bomb barracks, land on aircraft carriers, fight off wards of enemy planes. All of this sounds great in theory, but it’s very difficult to get good at it with a smartphone instead of a real controller.
The levels have a tendency to be quite long and there is no way to save your progress during the game. Otherwise, the missions are exciting and fun despite the challenge.
This is the feature that really makes this app stand out. You can play against people online live from your phone. Before you get started, you’ll be asked to set up an account with a password and email. You account info gets saved automatically so you won’t have to enter in separately every time. Every multiplayer game starts with you getting thrown into a random mission where you have to complete a certain number of tasks
The multiplayer function is very cool (except the connection suddenly gets lost), but there is a superfluous chat box built-in to the screen. The app actually allows you to chat with your team mates while playing. This begs the question: how am I supposed to chat while steering an airplane and conducting bomb raids? Don’t know what the developers were thinking there.
Dogfight is an impressive WWI airplane simulator with extremely realistic graphics, cool controls and fun missions. Unfortunately, the game is still very raw and the levels are a bit too hard to play. Although the developers worked hard on their project, Dogfight still seems a bit ill-suited for the small smartphone screen. Getting rid of some features good make the game leaner and easier to play. Hopefully, we’ll see some major improvement with the next update.
Screen & Controls
You start off your first Dogfight training mission on the runway in the cockpit. There are several different buttons and indicators located around the edges of the screen. On the right side, you’ll find a throttle lever that needs to be pushed to make the plane take off. Just below the throttle are the Fire and Bomb buttons that can be used in dogfights and bombing missions. In the top right corner is the air speed indicator and there’s an altitude meter in the left hand corner. Use the red brake button to stop the plane when it’s on the tarmac.
In terms of controlling the airplane's direction, you can either use the tilt mode (make sure to calibrate the phone in settings before hand) or touch the screen to control the plane's turns. Personally, I would recommend using the tilt mode as it is the most effecient.
Also, there are two different camera modes which can be switched between in flight by pressing the small green camera symbol. The cockpit mode is more practical for flying and actual fighting, but the 3D outside view is great for figuring out your location.
All in all, the graphics are amazing! It looks like a real computer game with full 3D effects. The only downside are several glitches that really get in the way of enjoying the game. Clicking the back button at any point in the game automatically quits the game - something which kept on happening to me by accident. Moreover, the select airplane button mysteriously disappears every time you try to replay a game. So you have to completely quit the game in order to try a level again.
Finally, the menu screen does not stretch to fit the size of the entire screen making the buttons appear too small.
Speed & Stability
Dogfight is fairly stable and reliable despite the intense 3D graphics. When the app first starts up, it takes a little too long for it to load, but once the installation is fully complete everything runs smoothly.
Although Dogfight is advertised as being free, you’ll notice a big fat yellow Upgrade button in the middle of the screen. So if you thought you could enjoy this game fully for free – think again! If you want to enjoy more than just one practice level, I would suggest paying the $1.99 via an in-app purchase to acquire the full version.