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Dustoff Heli Rescue 2 Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . If you've been waiting for somebody to revive the Choplifter franchise, look no further than Dustoff Heli Rescue 2. It takes everything you love about the old arcade game, gives it a fresh coat of paint and, most importantly, finds a lot of ways to improve on the formula in essential ways. It's occasionally repetitive and the gameplay is a little too simple for its own good, but this is one rescue mission you'll want to go on. Rating: 71%
Dustoff Heli Rescue 2
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  • B
The original Choplifter is something of an anomaly. It's one of the few games that managed to successfully transition from a home computer to a hugely popular Sega arcade cabinet. It had a simple premise that proved to be so popular that it spawned a whole series of sequels on a number of platforms. Unfortunately, like so many great arcade games of the 1980s, Choplifter has largely been lost to time. Sure, there was that HD remake released in 2013, but that barely scratched the itch. Thankfully, Dustoff Heli Rescue 2 is here to not only remind you of the simple joys of the arcade, but build on the Choplifter formula in ways you won't be able to resist.

Just like the arcade games it's imitating, Dustoff Heli Rescue 2 doesn't have much of a story. It's a series of bite-sized stages where the goal is to fly either left or right and pick up a bunch of stranded army men that are completely surrounded by enemies. Sometimes they'll mix up the formula and have you transport a bunch of soldiers behind enemy lines, while other times you'll be moving heavy objects and building communication towers. The objectives change from level to level, but the formula remains the same.


What surprised me right from the start was the way the game controlled. Instead of using the D-pad or analog sticks to move around, we use the shoulder buttons to steer. This seems a little awkward at first, but it's easy to get used to and makes a lot of sense -- the L1 button has you flying left, the R1 button sends you to the right and you'll lift off by holding the two buttons together. It's also worth mentioning that there's no button to shoot, the gunners will do it for you. Like steering, that took a little getting used to.

The good news is that all this eventually clicked for me. I started to pull off daring moves and feel confident in taking down large convoys of enemies. And as that happened, I found that the game started to throw more interesting level designs at me. I was suddenly forced to navigate my way through tight caverns and deal with the ever-changing weather conditions. And with time bonuses and hidden items to find in all 35 stages, I found that I was having a hard time putting down Dustoff Heli Rescue 2.

It helps that there are all kinds of different helicopters to buy and unlock, including a few novelty vehicles like a drone and a UFO. You'll also find a few different weapons to equip and play around with. There's not a lot of stuff to spend your coins on here, but there's certainly enough to feel deeper than the typical arcade shoot 'em up. And with nearly three dozen stages, it will take you a while to complete the quest, even before going back to collect all the stars and hidden items.

Dustoff Heli Rescue 2 (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

For as much as I like the bite-sized levels and fast-paced action, I found myself wishing there was more to the gameplay. Dustoff Heli Rescue 2 was originally released last year on mobile devices, which helps to explain the two-button controls and automatic weapons. I got used to the way it plays, but could never fully shake the feeling that it was dumbed down. I wish there was a little more to the gameplay, even if it's little more than pushing a button to drop a bomb. It just seems like there's something missing that I can't put my finger on.

When it comes to the visuals, I know there are a lot of people that have mixed feelings about the trend of voxel games, but I like the look. It creates an almost LEGO world full of boxy mountains, tanks, soldiers and buildings. I also like that we're constantly bouncing from one type of terrain to another, including everything from the desert to jungle to winter wonderland. I dig the art style and think it's a great way to evoke the old school spirit while simultaneously giving us new school visuals.

If you've been waiting for somebody to revive the Choplifter franchise, look no further than Dustoff Heli Rescue 2. It takes everything you love about the old arcade game, gives it a fresh coat of paint and, most importantly, finds a lot of ways to improve on the formula in essential ways. It's occasionally repetitive and the gameplay is a little too simple for its own good, but this is one rescue mission you'll want to go on.
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