Notes: Luftrausers

Luftrausers is a sidescrolling 2d bullet hell game, in an “Iron Sky“-esque setting.

Main feature of the game is the customizable “rausers”, which have 125 combinations according to the developer.

Customization includes a choice of a weapon, body, and engine.
All customization choices are based on advantages and drawbacks, for example you would sacrifice rate of fire for massive damage, slower speed for stronger hull, and maybe handling for super speed.

The range of options is great, and it offers a great variety of gameplay. You might focus on evasion, or spread your damage, or line up your shots.
Something I noticed however, that is quite intuitive and unnoticeable, but has a huge impact on the way the game feels and the state of flow, is the music, which also changes based on your customization options.

Different weapons change the rhythms
Different Bodies change the melody track
Different Engines change the bass track

Which is quite fitting-
Weapons – rapid fire, rhythms
Body – stronghold, embodiment, self, identity
Engine – hum, drone, intensity

To further investigate, I peeked into the game data folder in Program Files (x86)/Steam/SteamApps/common/Luftrausers/data/bgm, and surely enough, there are separate .ogg files for different tracks, that get assembled by the game when you make your custom rauser selection.

The way customizable music affects the game experience is uncanny. It is both intuitive and up front, yet almost unnoticeable and taken for granted, one may even think it’s just background music without giving it a second thought, where in fact, the player is even given a custom background music based on their choice of play style.

Kudos to Vlambeer and for crafting such an awesome, seamless arcade gaming experience, and Kozilek, for making it sound the way it feels it should.