When the movie Iron Sky was released, audiences were taken aback by the visuals and the concept of space Nazis. Then, they started to frown bit by bit when they realized that while it was aesthetically novel, the overall quality of the film was rather shoddy at best. Maybe it’ll show in HBO someday as a fun popcorn movie on a lazy Sunday evening. But as for its video game adaptation, you may have to get your feet off the table for this one and pay attention to how it performs.
Developed by Reality Pump Studios and published by TopWare Interactive, Iron Sky: Invasion is an attempt on a space flight simulator with strategy and roleplaying elements. While the movie was not very satisfactory, this game may be subject to the long-established yet unwritten rule in the video game industry regarding adaptations of movies, wherein a good movie usually results in a bad video game and a not-so-good movie equals a rather good video game. All kidding aside, the potential of killing space Nazis is just an awesome action game in the making.
The premise itself is enough to make people want to play this game, even though the film was pretty disappointing. The story is set in 2018, when US decided to send astronauts to the moon again and soon discovers a base at the dark side, run by Nazis who have been re-consolidating their forces since their defeat back in 1945. Armed with new technology that gives them Nazi flying saucers, it’s up to you and the rest of the world to thwart this great threat. You get into dogfights and attack the giant space zeppelins depicted in the movie.
You are treated to a good bit of action during battle, as well as upgrades in between to make your ships more powerful. The gameplay is reminiscent of Freelancer, another space game that combined dogfights with trade and role-playing. There is also quite a bit of witty dialogue in between fights, giving this game some entertainment value that made the movie so bad that it’s good. The cutscenes are live action, akin to Wing Commander and the Command & Conquer series, which can be pretty entertaining.
Missions can be picked in various areas, which is the extent of the strategy aspect of the game. Unfortunately, they’re mostly search-and-destroy missions that become monotonous after an hour or two of the same thing. You’re supposed to destroy a specific group of ships within a time limit. While the gameplay looks cool at first, that’s the only thing you can do in this game for the most part. Once you reach the Nazi moon base and destroy it, you win the game.
While it could have been solid overall, the final product is obviously rushed and suffers from a significant lack of polish. Missions and the rest of the gameplay are bland and repetitive. To its credit, the controls are simple and well integrated. However, the AI is substandard, bugs and glitches are abound, and multiplayer that could have taken advantage of its novel gameplay is absent. Perhaps the only real reason for playing this game is just for blowing Nazi flying saucers, but the way there is pretty dreary.
Iron Sky: Invasion does manage to come up with some good things here, translating the various elements in the movie into a video game format. It’s unpolished though, with every aspect lacking something that would make it complete. It’s alright if only one or two of them are missing something, but it is not so. Almost everything in the game has something wrong with it, and that makes for a rather boring gameplay experience.
This is such a waste of potential since the concept was pretty cool to begin with, despite the source material. Iron Sky could’ve been known better for a good game rather than the movie, but that chance was blown and we are left with a half-baked effort that is anything but iron.
Tested in PC. Final Score: 5/10