The War Game genre is very broad in its scope, since games can reproduce many aspects of war such as the large-scale battles, the one-on-one fights, the driving of tanks, or the even the global-scale games that allow you to control whole territories at a time.
Battle of Britain 303 Squadron sits in the very exclusive niche of aviation-based battle, putting you right in the pilot seat and allowing you to take control of one of the planes of the Polish 303 fighter squadron during the infamous Battle of Britain, where the war in the skies was famously won by the allies. The game is developed quite unusually by Channel 4, a television broadcaster that has apparently turned its hand to making games on the side as well.
The game consists of a predominantly side-scrolling format where you view the planes in the third-person perspective. You control your plane with the left and right directional arrows, with the left arrow raising the nose and the right arrow making it dip in order for you to travel downwards. Competent manoeuvring of the plane is essential in the various missions where you must dodge and evade attacks from the enemies with sudden dives and 180 degree turns in the air.
Don’t be too hasty with your moves, though, since sometimes you can lose control of your plane and go into a tailspin, adding a little realism to the game that is quite pleasant to experience. The Z button controls the throttle and you shoot your plane’s guns with the X key.
The missions, while somewhat diverse in the sense that they require you perform different manoeuvres and actions each time, aren’t really all that diverse and really just consist of repeated firing, evading and manoeuvring, with frequent quips coming from your fellow pilots in the squadron – these border on the annoying at times.
The compulsory tutorial mode is also a bit of a pain for people that just want to get involved with the rest of the campaign, but you cannot bypass it and must play through the basics as if it were your first actual missing. If you fail the mission, you must keep going through the tutorial before you can continue, which is really quite annoying if you just want to get into the action straight away.
Perhaps the best feature of Battle of Britain: 303 squadron is its graphics and general design. Whether this is because they had Channel 4’s backing or not doesn’t matter because the graphics are quite incredible and highly polished.
The whole thing barely looks like a flash game at all, in fact, with the grainy texture of the illustrations/general design making the whole thing feel very 1940s and the sound of the guns/ voice actors engaging in banter being high quality as well. Visually, the game is extremely refined and has clearly had a lot of work put into it.
As a shooting war game in general, this game is a fairly entertaining – if somewhat inaccurate – portrayal of the course of the Battle of Britain in the skies. As a flying game, though, the game isn’t really all that special, with games like Skies of War being considerable superior in gameplay.
The problem seems to be that in spite of the superior graphics and visual polish of Battle of Britain: 303 Squadron, this doesn’t really make up for fairly repetitive gameplay. This game is proof that looks aren’t always indicative of a game’s quality, but it is moderately entertaining nonetheless and is good to pass the time for ten or so minutes until the action gets boring. Play Battle of Britain 303 Squadron Now.