Have You Played… Luftrausers

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Luftrausers is a stupid game.

The planes can’t even fly properly! The planes can survive going underwater! The guns fire an infinite number of bullets bigger than the plane itself!

Yes, yes, yes. Luftrausers is about turning broken rules into rules. Rules which mean good times, standing apart from the solemn score-attack tradition of shmups.

It’s a throwaway idea treated with more care, enthusiasm and craft than throwaway ideas tend to get. Throwaway ideas should be treated like this far more often.

Stupid times. Good times. Luftrauser times.


  1. Berzee says:

    Apparently you can buy 100 LUFTRAUSERS Steam Keys (plus 1 DRM-free download) in an Experimental Air Raid Pack on their website for $749.99.

    Anyone want to go centsies with me?

    • Cinek says:

      offtopic: Why the address of this page is “/2014/10/18/have-you-played-aliens-vs-predator-2000/” ?! o_O
      You changed your mind about new article topic in a last second? ;)

      • Alec Meer says:

        Yeah, had an unfinished avp one in the system but it was frankly perverse to have it go up the day after the free promotion on gog had ended. Wish I’d got it up a couple of days previously.

  2. KDR_11k says:

    Luftrausers just seems silly by modern game standards where everything is realistic and about gruff military dudes, by old shmup standards it’s fairly mundane. Used to be that you’d be flying underwater, shooting rapid-fire nukes at aliens who fling their brains at you.

  3. sinister agent says:

    I did not expect to enjoy luftrausers much. I thought it’d be okay, but that I’d play it for an hour and then never touch it again.

    I was so very wrong. It’s brilliant. It’s one of those games that I’ll suddenly realise I’ve started up before even realising that I was bored and looking for a game to play. And then I’ll play it for a couple of hours, and only stop not because I’m not enjoying it anymore, but because I feel like I should be doing something else.

    And the music… when That Bit of the music kicks in, I always do something reckless and spectacular. You have to. It is necessary.

    • Turkey says:

      I haven’t played Luftrausers yet, but Nuclear Throne is kinda the same way. Except since it’s still early access, there’s a chance you’ll get a brand new character or a new crazy new gun every time you boot it up.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        I never do early access, and yet, EVERY time I see Nuclear Throne anywhere I have to fight the desire to immediately buy it and never stop playing…

        Also Luftrausers is bleeding ace.

        • mouton says:

          Nuclear Throne is still in early access? Uh oh, perhaps I shouldn’t have played it for 138 hours by now…

          • Kaeoschassis says:

            STOP THAT, you.

            Stop making me want to buy it, this instant.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Ooh, it does have a rather good “That Bit”.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Okay, that sold me on the game, curse you! It’s not even the first time I’ve seen and heard about the game.

  4. JD Ogre says:

    Yes. Yes I have played Luftrausers. Sadly, once the unlocks start slowing down to a crawl (ie, start relying on pure luck or extreme skills to get) after a couple of hours, it becomes stale. :(

    Music’s great, though.

    • Baal_Sagoth says:

      That was my experience as well. Granted, I still think it’s a really enjoyable, worthy game and a lot of my problem might be rooted in how terrible I seem to be at playing it. But I think Luftrausers sits in a flawed middle spot. Not quite embracing the sandbox fun of building crazy rausers and see playstyle and music dynamically change. Not quite embracing the relentless difficulty of oldschool shmups (that would’ve been my clue to stay the fuck away).

    • KDR_11k says:

      The unlocks pretty much stop once you have all 15 parts, after that you have to do ALL challenges to unlock ONE plane (parts cannot be mixed with others) and guessing by the name “Ur-rauser” it’s just an easter egg anyway that’s not worth unlocking. So basically you have to play for score at that point. If you’re not into scores (I’m not) then you might as well stop there.

      • jonahcutter says:

        Well, unless you just enjoy the gameplay.

      • Premium User Badge

        FhnuZoag says:

        The U-Rauser is an amazing thing.

        link to youtube.com

        But yeah, it is a lot of effort.

        I feel like the game’s longevity would have benefited from maybe more randomised elements.

  5. Shieldmaiden says:

    Luftrausers just feels good. It’s one of those games where they’ve absolutely nailed the controls and it’s a joy to play. Climbing into a loop and then cutting your engines as you gracefully flip upside down to rain death onto the ship below is glorious.

  6. Synesthesia says:

    Vlambeer has got its shit together. Play gun godz! The music is fantastic too.

    • Turkey says:

      Oh yeah. Gun Godz is fantastic. Makes me wish there were more 2.5D shooters.

  7. drumcan says:

    Admittedly I’m not very good at it, but Luftrausers always felt tedious and unfair compared to the original Luftrauser: link to not.vlambeer.com

    EDIT: … which apparently doesn’t exist anymore? That’s a shame. It’s not loading for me anyway.

    • kwyjibo says:

      You can play the Flash on Newgrounds.

      link to newgrounds.com

      It nails the same core loop as the full game, I wouldn’t really bother with the full game unless it’s on sale. I grabbed it in the last Humble Bundle.

  8. TechnicalBen says:

    Anyone get this to work with the Xbox analogue joysticks? Using only the D-pad on an xbox controller is less than ideal. :(

    • jalf says:

      Yeah, works fine for me. Except that honestly, I think it plays better with keyboard (or possibly d-pad).

    • DelrueOfDetroit says:

      The Xbox controller’s d-pad is good for nothing. I fully support getting a PS4 controller and downloading the patch that tricks your computer into thinking the PS4 controller is an Xbox controller.

      • dahauns says:

        The “Transforming D-Pad” version is at least bearable. But yeah, there are better alternatives.

  9. Joshua says:

    the music in this game is fantastic. It has three seperate tracks, a bass, rhytmn, and main track, and they change depending on your engine, guns, and body on your plane for that round. That alone makes it a great game.

    It also helps that it is imply the best SHMUP gameplay wise I have ever played.


    On topic: not my thing. I tried the free version and it did nothing for me.

    Off topic: take a look at RPS’s home page. I took a screenshot for when it changes. The two pictures are the same, so why is it that on the left the scientist’s mouth is serious and open, and in the right it’s smiling and closed? WHAT IS THIS MYSTERY

    • Ross Angus says:

      I still see it. I suspect it’s the way the images are resized server-side. The teeth get rounded down, so to speak.

    • kwyjibo says:

      It’s #GAMERGATE

    • Geebs says:

      Did they really make it harder than the original flash game, or am I just old and crap? It’s possible that my laptop can’t handle the Vlambeer Shake, but even having got to level 10 and unlocked all of the parts I still get killed a lot from offscreen.

      Also any part that reduces your turning speed should cause your Rauser to explode immediately on takeoff, to save time.

      (Edit: balls, this was supposed to go at the bottom. Sorry!)

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        Actually, the highest score I ever achieved, I got with normal body, beam weapon and that hillariously fast booster engine – 2 out of those 3 parts reduce turning speed.
        The trick is in cutting the engine, letting go of the trigger, turning, and then boosting and firing again.

  11. Rise / Run says:

    I also enjoyed this far more than I expected I would. The music slightly altering depending on your ship (as mentioned above) is great, the gameplay is amazing. It nails the old-school shmup attitude without the old-school design goal of stealing as many quarters as possible.

  12. Cinek says:

    Got it from humble bundle (bought it for another game, this was basically a free addition) – and… meh. Honestly, from this sort of games I had more fun with Race To The Sun. Luftrausers was just one-off until became more tedious than fun.

  13. uh20 says:

    -It’s an honest review.

  14. dahauns says:

    What Luftrausers needs: Local Multiplayer.