If you’re a fan of retro space combat sims such as Wing Commander and X-Wing then you’re in for a treat. Wings of St. Nazaire is an impressive, currently in development, attempt at recreating those older games in look and play style but for systems of today.
What that means is you play as a space pilot and blow up enemy ships into colorful explosions, mostly. It’s simple enough, and the intention of its three-man team is for it to be plenty of fun to just dive into and play.
However, there is depth to the combat here: advanced players will use the afterburner in short bursts for maximum acceleration, they’ll also use the right weapon type against different enemies, and they’ll also make sure the systems that need the power most will get it when needed.
It may be hard to see in screenshots, but Wings of St. Nazaire’s visuals are telling of the effort that the team behind it is aiming for. Although it might not look it, everything you see in the game is 2D – yes, really.
“We pre-render 2D images for every possible angle that you can see them from (544 for a normal fighter) and then display the right sprite. This is exactly what the early Wing Commander games did – we’re doing it this way because we absolutely love the retro effect this has,” writes one of the team.
So, the game really is a little more than just a tribute to retro games – it’s being made just like they were. If you want to check it out yourself, there’s a pre-alpha demo available here that you can play in your browser that gets regularly updated (it should support gamepads, joysticks, and keyboard). There are also downloads for Windows, Mac, and Linux available on the game’s website.
The team behind Wings of St. Nazaire says that the plan is to release the final game for free. However, if they do end up charging for it (and they probably should) then it shouldn’t cost you much, apparently. Plus, as it’s being made in Unity 3D, there’s a decent chance of it coming to consoles as well as PC once it’s finished.