A confession: I love on-rails shooters. At least, I did during the peak of the genre, when Panzer Dragoon, Star Fox 64 and their ilk briefly ruled the roost. There’s just something especially pure and cathartic about them. As such, it’s no surprise that the debut trailer for Omnibion War – a new shooter in this largely forgotten style from Chilean studio Crazy Bullet – caught my eye. It’s even got Itano Circus missiles, objectively the best sort.
What we have here looks very, very much like Star Fox 64, minus the furries, with perhaps a dash of Omega Boost/Macross thrown in for flavor. You’ve got your on-rails shooting sections, but occasionally gameplay will switch to a free-flying dogfight mode. Despite its relative simplicity on paper, it’s a pretty hard genre to get right, so I’ll be interested to see if this brave indie team can succeed where much larger studios have fumbled.
It looks like every genre staple is present and correct. A rapid-firing forward machinegun weapon, a multi-locking homing attack, and taking a nod from the likes of Macross, your fighter can switch to a humanoid mech-form, allowing you (at least in free-flight) to stop dead in the air and dodge laterally, as well as rapidly change facing.
I’ll be the first to admit that this one likely won’t be reinventing the genre or ushering in a new generation of this kind of shooter, but I’m glad to see any studio – even a small one – taking a shot at it after Nintendo and Platinum over-egged the pudding with the mechanically confused Star Fox Zero.
As an aside to other aficionados of the genre, if you’ve not played Sin & Punishment: Successor of The Skies (Star Successor in the US) for the Wii, it’s probably my favourite game in this style, ever, and also the last major project from legendary Japanese action studio Treasure. You can still grab it off Amazon UK new and cheap.
Why mention this? Because it emulates perfectly through Wii emulator Dolphin on PC. Better still, it maps itself to the emulator’s default WASD + Mouse controls with no additional configuration needed. An undersold classic on Wii given new life on PC, running at a solid 60fps even on a mediocre machine. Go forth and dance in the lasers.
Anyhow, Omnibion War doesn’t have a fixed release date yet beyond ‘Coming Soon’, but it does have a Steam store page, and will be published by Russian outfit 1C Company.