One of the games that I really loved playing was the 194X series. There was just something about controlling a plane and shooting and as simple as the controls were, you had to have the hand-eye coordination to make sure that you didn’t lose all your lives and it was game over. No matter how much I would get frustrated because I knew I had the pattern down, something would change and the more frustrated I would become. Not in a bad way, but more of a determination of wanting to keep the thrill of the challenge alive Over the years, the series, regardless of the platform, just kept getting better more challenging. But a new entry ready to be flown in ways that I have always thought about. So does Developer Ivanovich Games bring nostalgia into Virtual Reality? I am going to say it now, yes they do. Let’s find out more with 1976 – Back to Midway for PCVR on the Oculus Rift S and coming very soon to PlayStation VR.
In 1976 – Back to Midway, you will be traveling back to 1943. I know, it already sounds a little crazy but hear me out. It is the year 1976 in a dystopian reality where the Nazi army defeated the Allied Front and winning the great war, basically an alternate reality. But there is still hope as science has an answer. Scientists of the Allied Front have been working on a special device called the Quantum Air Combat Simulator has been created thanks to the prototype of one Dr. Ivanovich. This device, the Quantum Air Combat Simulator will allow you the opportunity to travel back in time, fixing the things that should have not succeeded, and thus correcting the space-time continuum. Sound easy right? Well, for the most part, it is, but remember, what you correct, can and probably will have unforeseen consequences that you may not be prepared for. So with that said, it’s time to get in the seat, get ready for the battles, and the puns because this time travel experiment is some fun to be had.
So before jumping in, you will want to be aware of a few things. For one, your control scheme. You could use the VR controllers, you could use a keyboard and mouse, or you could use the preferred method of using a game controller such as the DualShock 4 to make it really easy. One thing about using the controller, the controls are so simple. Use the left analog stick to move, use the R2 to fire, and if you need to adjust the view, use the Square button. That’s it. I will also say that when playing 1976 – Back to Midway in VR, you are sitting in a simulator looking at a big screen. So if any gameplay seems a little off, that is why. With that, let’s continue.
So the object of 1976 – Back to Midway is to of course stop the evil Nazi army by flying different missions. Each mission will give you goals that you will want to try and reach. The more goals you reach, the more stars you can earn and continue to the adventure. If for some reason you do not have enough stars to continue, you can replay any of the previous missions and try to meet those goals in hopes you get the number of stars you need to advance. Some of these goals could be things such as only dying once or shooting down a certain amount of enemies or even collecting enough coins. The more coins you have, the more upgrades that you can do to your plane.
After each mission, you get to see how well you did on the leaderboard which is a very nice touch as well as the opportunity to upgrade your plane with the number of coins you collected. Upgrades can be made to the Central Machine Gun, Wings Machine Guns, V Machine Gun, Guided Missiles, Side Fire, Damage Repairer, and even upgrade the coin bonus levels.
I know what you might be thinking of wouldn’t be cool if you could actually be inside the plane. Well, Ivanovich Games as well as Dr. Ivanovich knows what you want. They know that in order to help with the success of these missions, that there may be times where you need to have that different view and that is why, again thanks to Dr. Ivanovich and his team of scientists and the Quantum Air Combat Simulator, you can enter immersion zones. Which, are also part of the goals which could be to destroy a certain amount of enemies or coins for example. Just be careful in the immersion zones as taken too much damage will cause you to parachute only to return to the battle and hear how you were not successful. So to keep the positivity going, don’t rush, but pay attention to what is needed and you will succeed…or die trying.
Let’s talk about graphics and sound. Ivanovich Games has done a wonderful job of bringing the graphics and sounds of what I loved, but the real magic is the immersion zones. Being inside the plane and hearing your propellers and even hearing the enemy planes while they are shooting all around you just adds to the mix. I know there were a few times where I would just close my eyes just to be in the moment and enjoy the sounds which all got ruined by the enemy gunfire. But for those brief seconds of just flying, it is something that just needs to be experienced.
If there is anything I would love to see added is just more levels even if there was a way for players to make custom levels just to continue the fun. And the only other thing that I think would add even more fun is online co-op. What if we two players could be trying to defeat the mission, but then they crash into each other trying to avoid gunfire or even have one person in battle view and another in the immersion view? There are some options that would be fun to implement, but then the question becomes is it really needed. Is it needed, no. Would it be a blast, yes.
Ivanovich Games brings the fun of what has always worked and taken it to the next level into Virtual Reality with 1976 – Back to Midway. Sometimes it’s just the nostalgia with a new perspective that reminds us of the fun times we always had, why continue playing the games that we love, and why playing games in Virtual Reality is more than justified. And with all that is going on in the world, couldn’t we use just a little bit more nostalgia and fun in our lives?
1976 – Back to Midway is out now on Steam along with a free demo and Viveport and is coming to the Oculus Quest/Quest 2 via the App Lab on the Oculus Store on March 12, 2021, and on PlayStation VR on July 8, 2021
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I have to get back to the Quantum Air Combat Simulator and help correct the leaderboard situation.