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Liftoff – Preview

Will you survive the calibration process and enjoy dron flying?

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Liftoff is an early access product that is in pre-alpha state. The game is being developed by Lugus Studios and is priced fairly high at 20 euro. It doesn't offer much at this point in development but updates are going to be frequent.

A heavy thought process is needed to justify Liftoff's price. Every now and then we get an Early Access product that can hardly be described as a game. Liftoff brings absolutely nothing to the table. It isn't a true drone simulator in any shape or form. I am having trouble deciding exactly what it aims to be. Perhaps the developers could take home a trophy for the abominable graphics. The game offers three different maps and it’s a struggle to figure out which one looks worse. Since the engine the game was built on is Unity, creating landscapes is quite easy (Unity has a built in editor for that). The developers just put a couple of trees here and there, some haystacks on one map, and some very low detailed textures. What is true for drone control so far is the limitation of flight distance. You can’t explore these maps at all because you cut out range with the controller for the drone. In real life-that is the truth even though DJI offers over one kilometre of range and Parrot with a Skycontroller offers up to 2km. Do you really need to explore the maps? As I have already mentioned, they are bad from a design standpoint and from a graphical perspective, so the clear answer to the question is a big NO. The UI of the game does look nice. It has a modern look that welcomes new players. Other than that, the game is pure frustration.

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The frustration to get proper calibration:

As someone who came out of a thirty-minute endeavour to complete the tutorial, I strongly suggest you never follow in my footsteps. By the tutorial alone, you can figure out how hopeless this game is. I almost felt like going outside and watching grass grow would be a more interesting activity than having to struggle with this product. Even the tutorial is filled with glitches and bugs. I had to stand there looking at my screen for a couple of minutes to make sure that I haven't crashed and no reset was inbound. I hit a blue wall and I could still see some of the HUD at the bottom. When trying to throttle or pitch in any direction, visually the HUD was moving but nothing else was happening. I could forgive this if it wasn't a regular occurrence. Out of the five times messing around with the tutorial, all of them would bring me to the same wall hitting, HUD breaking, problem. The state of the game is pre-alpha, so can you really hold a grudge? Yes. For sure. 

Let's get this straight. When you are a game developer and you want financial support for your product, you have to focus hard on creating at least the base concept for the game and make it work. No one should pay you for an idea that isn't even developed at its core. The game is pure disaster at this point. Let me not forget to mention that there is no keyboard and mouse support, even though in the option you can clearly see a keyboard layout. Lurking around the Steam Hub, I found some interesting developer answers regarding this. Lugus Studios claimed that the game would be unplayable with a keyboard and mouse setup. Why include a keyboard layout in the setting then? Plus, playing this atrocity with a controller is nowhere near a good experience. Well, at least that was true for me with my Razer Sabertooth. A decent amount of time in the options to configure my controller was needed. I was in such a huge battle with calibration for the controller that I was going into the game a little furious. First I decided to try and work things out with the preset for an Xbox input device because the Sabertooth is just that (even though it works on PC). It appeared to be working fine at first. I got the drone off the ground without any issues but as soon as I decided to push it forward-something was wrong. I had to move in full speed in order to see where I was going because of the wrong calibration process. So the preset didn’t work for me. I tried to configure the controller all on my own which proved to be the better choice although I was still getting some calibration issue every now and then breaking the gameplay for me.

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Is it a real drone simulator?

As I haven’t flown a dron in my life, I can’t be quite objective on how accurate the game is in terms of controlling a flying object. From what I have watched as reviews on a lot of drone products, it would appear that most of them aren’t that easy to operate meaning this game comes pretty close to real life handling of a drone. It takes a lot of effort to make your drone do what you want it to do. It took me a good four hours of gaming to get to a comfortable flying experience. Keep in mind this doesn’t mean I become a pro but simple that I was able to do some more advanced flying. One last feature the game offers is drone customization which at this point is pointless. You have only one drone at your disposal and you really can't change much about it. You get up to three choices on some details of the drone but on others only one. I know this is something that will be worked on in the future but why even include it now? It doesn't show off anything special at the moment. When a developer introduces a new feature, it should be at least a little better prepared.

  • Good simulation

  • Drone flying

  • Terrible calibration

  • Bad visuals

  • Pre-alpha is a long shot. It is more along the lines of pre pre-alpha.

Following rating is based on my experience in this early build. If the control, calibration and other stuff will be fixed and more content added the game could be fun to play. But at the current state I must give 

Rating: 4.8/10

We wanted to show you also let's play of the game but unfortunately there are more issues in the game and it is not possible at this moment to run it currently on Steam. But we will try to bring it to you later.

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