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Star Wars Squadrons review: A short flight to the Dark Side

(PS4/XO/PC) ★★★★☆

Age: 16+

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Star Wars Squadrons

Star Wars Squadrons

Lair of the Clockwork God

Lair of the Clockwork God

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Star Wars Squadrons

The Empire in Star Wars has the moral equivalence of space Nazis. It destroys planets, hounds refugees and wages indiscriminate war. And yet aerial dogfighting sim Squadrons wants you to kill for the Dark Side in space battles against the Rebel Alliance.

Unlike 2017's Battlefront II, where the same ethical set-up flipped your loyalty away from the baddies mid-game, the storyline in Squadrons alternates between the viewpoints of the Empire and the Rebels. You might ambush a convoy in one role and then deal with the fallout in another.

This ambivalence about good versus evil exists largely, of course, for variety and spice - enabling you to pilot not just the celebrated Rebel X-wings but also the iconic TIE Fighters. There's no ground war here so - save for a lot of chatty plot exposition back at base - you spend most of your time swooping around hulking ships, hunting the enemy with your crosshairs.

As dogfighting goes, it's challenging stuff - requiring a delicate juggling act of shields, speed and squad tactics - but it can be too chaotic and even repetitive. Mastery of the airborne analogue of the handbrake turn becomes vital in multiplayer where humans prove more interesting opponents.

Squadrons is a fine spectacle and sounds terrific but it’s more suitable as a short-haul flight than a long-distance sortie.


Lair of the Clockwork God

(XO/Sw/PC) ★★★★

Age: 18+

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Lair of the Clockwork God

Lair of the Clockwork God

Lair of the Clockwork God

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Squadrons is a fine spectacle and sounds terrific but it's more suitable as a short-haul flight than a long-distance sortie.

Humour is subjective in any medium. So your fondness for this parody depends on your appreciation of gaming touchstones such as Monkey Island - symptomatic of a love of stupid puns, rampant silliness and patent absurdity.

Lair presents you with a point'n'click adventure wedded to a simple platformer. But it's really just an excuse for Ben and Dan, the two main characters, to exchange insults, slag off other game genres and come up with improbable solutions to daft puzzles.

It's not that there isn't a lot of gameplay - running and jumping, pulling switches or fetching items - but it's much less interesting than listening to Ben and Dan bicker. Think Mitchell and Webb, Little Britain, Steptoe and Son - the banter is quite anglocentric.

Less amusing are occasional technical glitches that take away the fun of the Lair.



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