1951 – World War One

I’ve never been one for air combat games, much less ones with tilt controls with a top down perspective, however 1951 – World War One has won me over in a blaze of glory!

1951 – World War One is an airborne shooter that has a great balance of atmosphere, quirkiness and genuinely satisfying gameplay! Kudos Treehouse Ltd!

When you launch the game the first thing that grabs your attention is the Rockabilly style music and makes you feel like a high flying rebel before you’ve even taken off. The menu’s are well laid out, easy to navigate through and set the atmosphere immediately. It’s worth taking a minute and checking out the ‘Help’ menu before flying otherwise you’ll find yourself missing out some nice non-essential controls that make gameplay more fun.

1951ww1-1Before you take to the skies and rain hot lead on your adversaries you need to pick what kind of pilot you are. There are 3 different character profiles to choose from but it doesn’t make a difference to the game visually who you choose but each character does have their own unique ability which is usable in-game as a special move, as well as their own amusing little bio’s. ‘Dandy Boy’ has a handgun power up to use when flying close to enemies, ‘Bad Apple’ forms a protective barrier around the biplane that will leave you untouched when flying into other planes but will send them crashing down, you’ll likely find this most useful, as the enemy A.I. is slightly suicidal. ‘Stiff Upperlip’s’ special ability makes bullets bounce off you.

The game has a small RPG element too so as you gain XP and level up you’ll be able to add extra perks to your pilot profile from increased bullet damage, increased speed and improved weapon cool-down speed among others. All your stats are viewable from either the pause menu or the main menu screen. There is also a curious package in the center of the menu with a sticker over it saying ‘Opens with a Future Update’. Fingers crossed for a multi-player option!

The main game has two modes – Wave Mode and Survival Mode, and no prizes for guessing what each of them are! In Wave mode you face wave after wave of enemies in a kill or be killed scenario, and when you’ve exhausted your lives you can restart just one level below your last wave, so there is no frustration in starting from scratch every time your foe gets the better of you. Survival mode is simply last as long as you can without being shot down.

1951-ww1-2The graphics are stunning for a mobile game of this type, all aircraft, shells, and fog are fully rendered in 3D with the European countryside below. You are not limited to just flying forward here either, you have free roam of the skies by using the tilt controls, which are, simply put, a joy to use. It’s not often you find a game on the iPhone with tilt controls that offer such precision as this game does, they are smooth and exact. No jerky movements that require constant quick correction here.

There is a lack of Multi-Tasking though, but who ever heard of emails in 1951 eh!

If there is one flaw that the game has, it is the Kamikaze style enemies. Often you’ll find they will make a beeline for you, and if you’ve taken any damage already you’ll likely fall out of the sky quicker than you can say “Where’s my parachute?”. But careful throttle control and a clever, quick use of the tricks like barrel roll and flips will have you avoiding them in style. Gunning down your target takes more than just a couple of bullets, you will need to rain down on them with everything you have, while watching you don’t overheat you gun and keeping on their tail. I found the age old technique of shoot where they are going to be instead of where they are, is the best method to use.

World War One (1951) is a great purchase for anyone who enjoys aircraft games, shooters and anything with XP and level up elements in it. With it’s great implementation of controls and stunning visuals, it’s a must buy!

Presentation and Graphics

Fully rendered 3D graphics, but make sure you don’t have any other apps running in the background or you’ll experience slowdown.


Gnarly Menu Music and gameplay sound effects, but would have liked to have heard atmospheric music during main gameplay too


Smooth, easy to control and enjoyable. World War One (1951) is suited for either quick sessions or long play times.


There is nothing stopping me going back to this game everyday for a few enjoyable dog fights.

Final Rating

A great game executed beautifully on the iPhone, the only thing holding it back from a full 5 stars is the lack of MultiPlayer and the suicidal A.I.

1951 – World War One is out now for $1.99. Get it on the 1951

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