Nuclear Option (PC) - Cricket

I Feel The Need for... A Flight Sim Lite!

A Fun Flying Game, Easy to Pick Up

I've picked up quite a few single player games from the STEAM sale this month so I wasn't really looking for any more BUT...

This game - Nuclear Option by Shockfront Studios - popped up on YouTube with some good feedback and one of it's main attractions is that is is designed to be easily playable just using a mouse and keyboard. This is great for me as I am doing a lot of 'sofa gaming' at the moment using my little ASUA laptop so I can keep the wife company (instead of constantly disappearing up to use my main gaming PC in my attic man-cave)!

Nuclear Option (PC) - Flight Sim 'Lite' Training Clip
Above: Doing one of the training missions and getting used to using the mouse
as the flight controller. Takes a wee bit of getting used to!

I do love playing stuff like ACE COMBAT 7 (and have an eye of WINGMAN) but they do really need my Thustmaster HOTA setup to play them properly. Having a casual flight sim I can muck about on that just uses a mouse as the controller is ideal for me. So I snapped up this little game.

Bargain Basement Ace Combat 7?

You can't help but make the comparison between Nuclear Option and the king of the arcady flight shooters - ACE COMBAT 7 - but to be fair the production budget and team behind either game is vastly different. While AC7 is a full-on triple-A standard game with a long gaming heritage, NukeOp is the new kid on the block which doesn't have the development costs behind it. It is pretty cut down.

In fact - rather like the other sim-lite contender to AC7, WINGMAN - NukeOp has saved on the costs of the licencing fees for real world combat aircraft but making it's own set of 'lookie-likies' for you to fly. The game's very small stable of aircraft are all fantasy takes on modern combat aircraft, but are all sorta familiar tropes for types that are common worldwide at the moment.

Nuclear Option (PC) - Aircraft

The entry level 'light fighter' is called the T/A 30 'Compass', but obviously takes it's design cues from the likes of the Russian YAK 130, Italian M-346 Master or South Korean KAI FA-50. Then there's - surprisingly - an attack helicopter which they call SAH-46 'Chicane' which is obviously a take on the stealthy American RAH-66 Comanche concept or the Indian HAL Prachand.

Then there's your high-tech 4.5 gen fighter - which looks suspiciously like a Saab JAS 39 'Gripen' - which the game calls the FS-12 'Revoker'. Which has to be the lamest name they could have thought of!

The last two aircraft are a little more novel, but for different reasons.

The game's CI-22 Cricket is as wacky as it sounds, but is one of my favourites in the game. Modern combat flight sims seem to have totally missed the surge of interest in turbo-prop COIN aircraft that came about in the past decade - mainly due to asymmetric warfare and anti-insurgency operation such as Afghanistan.

Fast jets were not entirely suited to these operations and attack helicopters had to make up for teh lack of a specialist, long loitering support and attack aircraft that was lacking in air force's inventory.

Only by the end of our involvement in the Afghan war did the coalition militaries finally get the mesage and the US started to deploy - under the auspices of the Afghan Air Force - Super Tucanos turbo props in the ground support and COIN role.

NukeOp's Cricket is a reflection of this addition to today's needs and although a fanciful design it can be said to be loosely based on the American OV-10 Bronco of Vietnam War fame.

Nuclear Option (PC) - Cricket

And finally, we come to the near titular aircraft of the game - the nuclear option itself - the SFB-81 Darkreach!

Nuclear Option (PC) - Darkreach

I suppose it lends some of it design inspiration from the American B-2 Spirit stealth bomber and it constitutes the heavy bombing capability in the game, including nuclear weapons.

So Far, So Good...

Well, that gives you a quick overview of what you can expect, minus the actual gameplay - as I am still doing the initial tutorials. However, there are - it seems - a nice set of accompanying missions which I am sure are designed to show off the particular capabilities of each of the aircraft in the game.

I will post again as I progress into the missions stage, with some more game footage.

But thus far, I am enjoying this cut-down air combat game.

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