Thunder Wolves does not take itself seriously, and it’s aware of that. This is a testosterone-filled game with a one-dimensional story, supported by single trait, one-dimensional characters. You play as a Thunder Wolves pilot who we only know as Blister. You and your partner Max are known as Wolf One. It’s your job, and the job of your crew, to basically blow everything up. While doing this, there is an objective here if you are willing to pay attention and seek it out. It’s really not about what you are going after, but about what you are destroying to get there.
Thunder Wolves is no graphical achievement by any standard, which would be okay if the game had anything else going for it. I believe the achievement for this game was to make the player feel like an unstoppable badass, which is does, just in a poor manner. There’s so much happening on screen at once that it’s hard to focus on the task at hand. As you try and take out one enemy, you have an impossible amount of bullets and missiles flying straight at your tail, your sides, and any other part of the chopper. The frame rate is consistently unsteady which is something that’s vital to not only a shooter, but a game where everything is moving about here and there. There are moments when it hits 60 frames per second and I think, “This looks nice and smooth,” just to be disappointed a few seconds later to a screen full of diced animations. Not too far into the game you gain the ability to change the filter in which you view the battlefield. I assumed this was supposed to help locate enemies and enemy vehicles, but it just served as a visual nuisance. Not only does Thunder Wolves’ presentation resemble a mobile game, but it’s structured akin to one as well.
Controls are different but are a breeze to become accustomed to. Each mission is setup like any game you would play on your smartphone or tablet. It’s a shallow, simple concept to have in a game on platforms such as console and PC. You do this and that and try to earn three stars. Missions aren’t particularly lovely either. Getting through a mission is simple, you have to shoot at what’s indicated by red arrows and triangles. Once it blows up or dies, do it again to this thing and these soldiers, and let’s not forget enemy equipment in a cave where the enemy could possibly be concealing a nuclear bomb. At first I found the game fun, and who wouldn’t? You have an infinite amount of bullets and rockets and this shoot-’em-all, blow-’em-up title makes you feel nothing short of omnipotent. I never feared death in this game. It’s beyond repetitive, which is something atrocious for a game of its short length. While I admire that the game tries to switch things up for the player by having on-rails shooting sequences and intertwining objectives varying from search-and-destroy to search-and-protect and occasionally escort, it wasn’t enough to justify the similarities of each mission. Speaking of similarities, the helicopters you unlock and control may look different, but control and shoot almost identical to one another.
The game fails in more areas than it succeeds. I understand the tone the developers are going for in Thunder Wolves. I enjoyed the raunchy banter between the characters and the exciting heavy metal music. It feels much like The Expendables if it was a video game, ignoring the fact that there already is one. The story falls into every action movie cliche, and that’s alright. The title just presents no challenge. With an auto-lock system that wants to be more than friends, and the fact that it’s scary how inaccurate you can be with a sniper rifle (a weapon of precision), the experience became a bad joke, kind of like when your partner says, “I’m so frosty I make snow shiver.”
Thunder Wolves was reviewed on the Xbox 360 platform, with a review code provided by the developer. For more information on how Indie Game Insider conducts reviews, check out our review policies.