Wing Men


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Rating: 3.6/5 (80 votes)
| Comments (20) | Views (35)

Mikemike-wingmen-screen1.pngIt's war! Hideous, interplanetary war, and the suits and brass hats at Wing Men Corp know just what that means; beaucoup profits for those with the gumption and firepower to take advantage of an opportunity! Obviously the Wing Men execs have never heard of the broken window fallacy, or maybe they just want to be the glaziers, so to speak. Regardless! In this real-time strategy title of mercenary aerial combat, you play one of Wing Men Corp's bright new generals, set on wiping out the soulless, invading alien hosts to save mankind and make a pretty sum in the process.

You start each level with a base ship, a number of possible planes and powers to purchase, and a "fund" with which to purchase them. Planes pilot themselves, so the strategy comes in cranking out as many of the right sort of planes as possible, and in deploying powers like EMPs and airstrikes in a targeted and timely fashion. The alien armada has planes, powers, and a base ship of its own, and the goal of each level is to destroy the base before the enemy destroys yours. You earn a little bit of cash slowly as the game progresses, and a-sploded enemy ships drop little dollar signs that you collect with your mouse for further profits. Every plane and power has a recharge time, so you have to spend your money slowly and judiciously.

Analysis: I suppose that Wing Men could be a satire on the antics of for-profit companies involved in wartime activities, but I prefer to think of it as a play on the mercenary conventions of strategy and defense titles. Indeed, Wing Men's gameplay could hardly be more essentialist: Buy ships to kill ships to make money to buy more ships to kill more ships. You don't even have to worry about the tedious particulars of piloting and targeting for the most part. The joy is in deploying wave after wave to execute your destructive orders.

The presentation and design in Wing Men is pretty slick. The art is bold and arcade-like, the soundtrack appropriately martial. I especially like the WWII-style of the menu, briefing, and debriefing screens. The orders from your boss (who must have heard a lot of jokes about his name at the academy) are silly but sort of enjoyable. The quality of the written English instructions and narrations is a little clumsy, in an "All-Your-Base" sort of way. One of our reviewers wondered if this was deliberate, and if it is, bravo!

mike-wingmen-screen2.pngThe simplicity of Wing Men is its strength and its curse. On the one hand, the purity of the experience is not without its pleasures. On the other, it can get bogged down in grind pretty quickly. While many levels introduce new gambits and toys to play with, the layout and level design is always the same; send your ships to the right side of the screen to cleanse with fire and rocketry. Further, the AI sometimes frustrates. In one level my ships were getting demolished by the enemy's single turret, but they preferred to concentrate their fire on the base instead. I wanted to say, "Guys, the bullets aren't coming from the base!" but the game doesn't let you make these adjustments, and you have to be content with the bumbling savvy of your computer-controlled pilots.

Nevertheless, Wing Men is a bold stroke of simplicity for the casual strategy defense genre. While the gameplay is a little shallow and underdeveloped, that can at least partly be explained by its minimalist take on strategy gaming. It's simple and straightforward, like Wing Men Corp's take on warfare and business. "War is money?" Play to find out.

Play Wing Men

20 Comments

This game seems nigh impossible. I finished the first two levels with a kill:death ratio of 2:1, meaning I killed twice as many planes as I lost, but winning didn't come easily. There aren't enough strategic options to offset the huge numbers of enemy planes, and its easily to get screwed over when your forces split up and get destroyed. Some basic "attack" and "return to base" commands would make a lot to sense.

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My bad, failed to read instructions about collecting money.

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Anonymous August 28, 2010 6:32 AM

Great Game! But it is essential to hover over the dollar signs, that appear when an enemy is shot down. The point mentioned before is not really clear when you just start playing the game. Gets pretty hard later on.

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Hassle Free Author Profile Page August 28, 2010 1:55 PM

This is a great game once you figure out that you can pick up the dollar bills on the screen (didn't read the whole review before playing and found that things stalled by the second level. It seemed very tough until I read through the entire review.

Some effective strategies:

1. Once you get more planes in the game try sending a wave of them at a time. In other words click all of the plane buttons at the same time (build up enough cash before this). They are much more effective when working together.

2. Try to time an EMP strike for when you have a fresh wave of planes coming so the enemy will be in disarray and your new wave can swoop in and decimate them.

3. Concerning the Gaia ships don't use them with your plane waves, but rather when you have need to take out opposing "Behemoths" and the turret for the enemy base. Gaia seem to target these first (which is exactly what I want them to do)

4. Plan airstrikes when there are lots of little planes (i.e. not Behemoths) in the area since you get the same amount of money regardless of the enemy (or at least the difference is negligible).

5. Short on cash? Instead of trying to press the attack just wait until all of your planes are gone and let your turret do all the work. The enemy seems reluctant to attack which works to their advantage on the defensive (they get to use their turret most of the time) but works to your advantage when you are running short on cash. Use a few airstrikes when there is a high concentration of smaller planes and you can make a lot of cash really quick. This is a good strategy to use before you send any planes out.

6. The enemy has this strategy where they will freeze all of your planes in place and then send what look like bees to attack your planes (officially called ice storm and nanobots). This can be horribly destructive unless you have some shields. I suggest saving the shields for this onslaught (if you are at a point in the game where they can do this) otherwise try to time it to their new wave of planes.

That's all I've got for now, haven't beaten it yet, but I'm almost there.

Hope this helps some of you!

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Bandycoot August 28, 2010 2:13 PM

Ugh, just spent ages trying to defeat the aliens in Kazakshtan, but I ran out of money and they destroyed me, good game, but so hard...

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KamenZero Author Profile Page August 29, 2010 12:00 AM

Bandycoot:

I did as well, but I got lucky with a well-place airstrike and took them out. At the end, I had 900 kills and 892 lost.

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This game is way too hard and not fun. I'd be interested if it were playable at all.

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the real boss at the end of the last level is basically impossible to beat, you will be very aggravated.

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A tried but true strategy. Spend your cash only on gaea ships and constantly launch missile strikes at the enemy turret to wear its health down. Collect the dollar signs judiciously and throw in the occasional emp or shield or repair. But mostly, the gaea and the missiles should work fine

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I agree the 'final boss' is annoyingly bad. The only strategy I can see is to conserve tons of money on that level before you proceed.

This game seems more in the vein of RTS for those who like spectacle more than elaborate strategy (think Supreme Commander or to some extent Total War). Given how easy it is to win the early levels, there's not much challenge until the near the end.

My strategy has one thing in common with xing's : Always have enough to do an airstrike as soon as it comes up. It's generally more effective than spending the same amount on planes, since you can usually take out at least three or four, and often several more, with it.
The other thing to do is hold back until you can send units in force. The enemy has the luxury of doing this with units in the air - once you send yours, it will fly as far as the first enemy it can find. So in order to stack your forces, you need to hold back and even take a few hits while you reserve some cash. As a game mechanic, the inability to do what the enemy is doing is annoying and a bit tiresome.

It's an okay satire I guess, just barely fun enough because it's not being serious about it.

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Hassle Free Author Profile Page August 29, 2010 8:24 PM

I managed to beat the final boss after two tries. It takes a lot of focused strikes, some airstrikes and a good variety of planes

At one point the final boss will change the allegiance of your ships so watch out for that

It is a good idea to have about 4 or 5 gaias on the board during this part however.

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The 15th and final battle in Australia is very tough because, as gameman1 said: the boss battle.

And when you die, you have to replay the entire level rather than just the boss battle. This makes the flaw in this game very apparent: The best strategy for winning is also the slowest and most tedious.

I enjoyed playing much more than others seemingly did. But I still haven't beat it and I'm ready to give up because it's just so painfully slow and dull in the later stages. I'm on my fourth try.

Anyone have any weapons hints for finally winning?

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Finally did it!

Okay, now I like the game again. LOL!

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Are there any strategies for level one? I've tried three times and each time I've given up.

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Important (vital) tip: When you destroy enemy planes, mouse over the $ symbols to pick them up.

I didn't realise this until the third mission, it makes the game playable. I'm pretty sure that's no where in any of the help or documentation. Silly mechanic too.

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Maybe it will change when more stuff is unlocked, but early on (and having realised you can collect $) money is only an issue in the very early stages of battle. It seems almost redundant, as you get more than enough cash so quickly that you're only waiting for unit building to refresh.

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Kazakhstan took forever for me, and got very repetitive... I'm stopping for now. If not for the repetitiveness, it was pretty fun.

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This game was fun until about halfway through then it got inexpicable hard. The later levels really show how unevenly balanced the power of the "Alien" is and their third unit is insanely more powerful than your own third choice. not only that but their fourth choice has alsmost a quarter more health than the Gaia. I liked the graphics and overall concept of the game as the dialouge from the general was pretty funny. I hope they make a sequel to this game that has the enemy stats more balanced as well as the option to upgrage your own airship. Overall, I give this game a 3.5/5

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If you have not played the game yet, don't read this. you can win the game verry easily if you follow this tactics.

it is pretty funny but i don't like it that you can't go past wave 47 in survival mode, the game is pretty easy, in the later levels when you have a turret on your mothership you can just wait for a few waves of enemy ships to get shot by it and then collect that money, also throw air strikes during this time. just wait until your turret is heavily under attack, then you send out all your planes and send many waves of them at the same time, keep your gaaiia's comming so the enemy will always have 2 deal with those and just overload them.

in survivor mode you just need 2 use shield on the first wave, 3d (if you can 4th 2) and so on. always when half of the enemy is within reach of your planes. this way you will have more ships in the end to make sure the enemy is dead sooner so you dont lose ships. purchase the hyperion ship and always build ships if you can. after this buy the EMP strike and switch between shield and emp for each wave. now comes a verry important thing, save your money for the repair command not for the dementer. if you buy the dementer you will never gain enough cash to buy other upgrades like repair... because its to expensive. use repair 2 heal your ships when they are circling around your base and it will look like you are starting with a whole lot of fresh ships. if you do this you can make it but i suggest nog 2 buy the dementer and go straight for the gaaiia to prevent a huge lag on your pc, you'll have tons of ships and it won't be ease for a flash game 2 comprehend.

well thats all i have 2 say about it, it was fun playing the game but it's 2 bad the survivor mode is not complete, you just get much money and the game goes to a lag.

have fun.

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alien killer February 15, 2011 1:22 PM

Read this spoiler if you want to win.

I am sure someone else posted this already but the secret to winning is hanging back and letting your mounted cannon do all of the killing. You will have to use some fighter to help out but use the cheapest one possible just to distract the enemy while the cannon takes them out. Get up to about $2500-$3000 then send all out waves of everything you have plus throw in a few shields and things and you will kick their butts with noooooo problem.

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