TU 95 Tests Flight Worthiness
If you aren't familiar with a TU 95 (NATO code name: Bear), it is a bomber and missile aircraft that is serving under the Soviet Union. That being said, your guide Pavel Zhukovsky is certainly an appropriately thematic character. Now if you think this is just your run-in-the-mill flight sim game, think again. The mechanics for TU 95 are a bit more complicated in the sense that your maneuvers will have to be carefully thought out if you do not want to end up crashing the plane and killing the pilot.
For instance, the first stage's objective is to land in the next airport. The Up key makes your plane speed up and fly, the Left and Right arrow buttons rotate the angle of the aircraft's body, G closes the Gear, controlling the plane's wheels and the Space Bar is assigned different functions depending on the current mission. In order to fly successfully, you will need to know when to use the different flap types which are controlled using the F key. Now if you think you cannot land safely and all else fails, your last resort will be pressing the H key which will eject the pilot from the cockpit.
If that sounds like a challenge, wait 'til you get to the next missions. These will entail refueling other aircrafts mid-flight, flying in bad weather among others. In concept, these are unique and are sure to pique your interest, though in practice, we found the controls to be too strict to be enjoyable. If you happen to be new to flight Sims, or are just not used to doing delicate maneuvers, even the tutorial stage is going to be a lot to handle. That being said, the introduction could use some work. Perhaps with more instructions at the start of the game and some leniency in terms of mechanics, the game will be accessible to more people. It doesn't have to be dumbed down, just balanced.
We have mixed feelings with regards to TU 95's graphics. If the title screen is any indication of what awaits in the game, you may be surprised at how clean the in-game delivery actually is. While they do take up space, the gauges and indicators look quite at home in the upper left corner of the screen. Animations are basic but they do a good job of making the overall package look sophisticated. Like for instance, a crew vehicle drives away from the aircraft before takeoff and the plane continuously sways about while in flight.
So is FOG's TU 95 a hit or a miss? When it comes to unique launch games, this title is definitely at the top of the list. For a flight sim, its controls sound good concept-wise but due to its steep learning curve, the execution ends up quite clunky. While the mechanics may end up to be overwhelming for some, this does not mean you should pass up on the game entirely. Due to TU 95's novelty and polished delivery, it is still worth checking out if you have what it takes to pilot the Bear.