Crisis Wing is an old-school style vertical shooter that puts a heavy emphasis on challenge. Never impossible but always difficult, even long time shooter fans might find frustration with the trial-and-error difficulty.
To summarize quickly, Crisis Wing is a decent shooter, especially considering the low price tag, but there are a couple issues that damper the experience. First is the screen itself. The 2D pixel art isn’t the best thing ever created but it definitely gets the job done. Sure, sometimes it can be difficult to tell what is a bullet and what is a non-interactive part of the environment in the heat of battle but the visuals are totally fine. That is, if you can excuse the massive black borders on each side of the game screen. Unless a vertical shooter was specifically developed for wide screen TVs, there are going to be dead areas surrounding the actually game portion. When played in the default settings, there seems to be more black edges than actually gameplay. Thankfully, there are options to rotate the screen in the options menu but this is assuming your TV is mounted to the wall and can be flipped. For this, perhaps the Switch version is the easier version to play.
The other massive oversight to this low-cost shooter is the lack of a save function. For example, in my first attempt, I managed to make my way to the third stage. After getting my ass handed to me, I had to put the game down. When I returned, the game only let me start back at the beginning. Even if clicked on the Practice Mode, it only let me advance as far as Stage 3. With a game that is this difficult, not being able to continue from your point of quitting is even more unfair and almost makes the experience unplayable.
If you have a lot of time and patience, then it is possible to see the end. With each attempt, the player is given a few lives. Once those lives are lost, the player is forced back to the latest checkpoint with an infinite number of continues. The downside is, checkpoint can be 30-60 seconds back. This doesn’t sound much on paper, but staying alive for this long is always a challenge. In fact, dying at a boss sets the player back a ways and I often died on my way to the boss; I couldn’t even make it to the boss, let along making it there with all three lives to give myself the best chance to reach the next stage.
Everything else you would expect is here. There are power ups. There are screen killing bombs (which is actually a cool green skull attack). Two player co-op can help alleviate some of the difficulty and the Boss Rush mode also increases the replay value. It is a bummer that leaderboard scores are limited to local only though.
Crisis Wing is a fun shooter but it is one that isn’t for the weak of heart. There is some entertainment to be had, it is just a shame that its flaws are very difficult to overlook, just like its pacing and challenge level.
Also available on Switch, PC, PS4, and PS5.