Warhammer 40,000: Dakka Squadron: Flyboyz Edition – Review
Follow Genre: Arcade
Developer: Phospor Studios, RedDeerGames
Publisher: RedDeerGames, Games Workshop
Platform: Switch, PC, PS4, Xbox One, iOS
Tested on: Switch

Warhammer 40,000: Dakka Squadron: Flyboyz Edition – Review

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Good: Fantastic voice acting
Bad: A visual mess
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The last time we caught up with Warhammer 40,000’s Orks, they were running and gunning and causing all sorts of mayhem in Shootas, Blood & Teef, but this time around, the foul-mouthed greenskins are taking to the skies. Warhammer 40,000: Dakka Squadron: Flyboyz Edition (that’s a mouthful) has finally arrived on the Switch, more than three years after debuting on Steam. It’s far from the only choice that 40K fans have on the Switch, of course, so the question remains whether Dakka Squadron soars above the other Warhammer games or if it crashes and burns instead.


Anyone familiar with the Warhammer 40,000 (or 40K) universe knows that a lot of lore can be found in it and that a significant chunk of that is convoluted or outright self-contradicting. That’s without even getting into the bleak and grimdark atmosphere that permeates the setting. The one exception to this is the Ork race. They’re simple-minded buffoons that only care about shootas, WAAAGH! and the titular dakka -an onomatopoeia for the sound made by guns. This one-track mindset is apparent in Dakka Squadron, as the game throws the deep lore of the world out the window, opting for atmospheric storytelling without delivering an actual story. The premise is simple: you’re an Ork that joins the Ork Klan of your choice, and then you hop into your magnificent flying machine to deliver death to your enemies. It’s clear that the developers have a real love for 40K’s Orks, because there are a ton of winks, nods, and easter eggs to be found here, but even if you’re completely unfamiliar with 40K, the sheer simplicity of the story means you’ll have no issues understanding what is going on.


We’ll immediately address the elephant in the room: Dakka Squadron isn’t a good-looking game on the Switch, although whether this is because the console isn’t exactly a graphical powerhouse or because of the game’s dated aesthetic, remains up in the air. We don’t have another version of the game but we’ve been looking at screenshots and even on PC, this doesn’t look like a game from 2020 but from 2000 instead. Perhaps this faux-retro aesthetic is deliberate, with the game paying homage to Star Wars: Rogue Squadron with more than just its title. The Switch version looks only slightly worse compared to the footage we found, with Dakka Squadron looking like a blocky, muddy mess across all platforms. Admittedly, the developers have already announced they’re working on a patch to improve visual performance on the Switch, but whether that pertains to the game’s overall appearance or the aspects that affect gameplay remains to be seen. Text is often blurry and illegible, especially in hand-held mode; and if it wasn’t for how easy to understand the gameplay was, there would have been instances where the lack of text clarity would have affected our gameplay experience.


The real highlight of Dakka Squadron is found in the voice acting. As you make your way through the campaign, your fellow Orks, including the Klan’s Boss, will talk to you over the radio. Not only does the writing capture the spirit of 40K’s Orks, but the deadpan delivery of the lines is top-notch as well. On the other end of the spectrum is the game’s music, which doesn’t quite hit the mark as well. It’s a suitably Orky cacophony of droning electric guitars and drums, but it’s neither enjoyable nor memorable.


It’s not just Dakka Squadron’s narrative that is simple and straightforward, but its gameplay as well. In theory, the different Ork Klans you can choose from have different stats, which does give you a reason to replay the game, but in practice, these differences are negligible and the core Dakka Squadron experience remains the same: you hop into your trusty plane, take to the skies, and blow up everything in sight. Oh, and you try not to get yourself killed, of course. Dakka Squadron does try to shake things up through various mission objectives, but by and large, the above is the gist of the game. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because Dakka Squadron’s simplicity makes it perfect for short pick-up-and-play bursts, although repetitiveness does kick in during prolonged play sessions. Dakka Squadron may be structured around a campaign, but it doesn’t feel cohesive or narratively gripping enough to want to play it in a single sitting.

For as simple of a game as Dakka Squadron is, it does take a little effort to get used to controlling your plane, with the biggest issue being that turning your plane completely shifts your field of view which is disorientating. Additionally, Dakka Squadron’s frame rate often can’t keep up with the on-screen action, resulting in stutter and frame drops. We do have some hope that these are the visual issues that are supposed to be patched in the near future, so you might want to hold out on picking up Dakka Squadron until after the rumored patch drops. Apart from this, plane controls are fluid and intuitive once you make it past the initial awkwardness of the tutorial, and when the game does work, it’s fun and satisfying to soar over the battlefield, doing barrel rolls as you blow up enemy fighters.

The RRP for Dakka Squadron is €19.99, which feels very overpriced for what you’re getting here, but at the time of writing, the game is already being offered at a 50% discount, mere weeks after launch. €9.99 seems fair, and given RedDeerGames’ penchant for discounting their titles more often than not -looking at you, nOS– we’d say that you’ll have plenty of opportunities to add Dakka Squadron to your library well below the RRP. Given that the game is in dire need of some extra visual polish as well as a performance boost, there definitely is no harm in waiting for either a patch or a hefty discount.


The current Switch build of Dakka Squadron is appropriately Orky, both in nature and appearance: it’s an unpolished, ramshackle game that leaves one wondering how it runs in the first place, but there is still plenty to appreciate here. While we do suggest for the Mekboyz to work their magic and improve the game’s performance, once Dakka Squadron irons out some of its performance kinks, it becomes an easy recommendation for anyone looking for a game that offers mindless fun in short bursts.

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