In 2006 the Australian Defense Force released an interactive add on MSN which simulated air to air combat in a turn based game. It allowed both players to declare their intended movements, then acted both of them at the same time, with the objective being to hold your opponent you your sights long enough to either hold a missile lock or glance them enough times with machine gun fire.
What does this have to do with Festering Skies? This is an add on by an actual games developer 15 years later, which doesn’t resemble air combat, doesn’t resemble any in depth strategy of dog fighting etc… it’s largely a ‘set and forget’ combat system with the option to abort if it goes badly. The fact there was something better 15 years prior highlights that this failing is not a lack of possible options, technology, maybe budget I don’t know, but under any stretch it seems a poor attempt. The sense I get is that this minigames only intention is to be a ‘one up’ from the previous xcom games, with the air combat basically having near 0 interaction, but at least downing an aircraft resulted in a unique mission type.
XCOM was good and all, but the air combat wasn’t it’s thing, and this game should set a higher bar. If there was a better version of turn based air combat about 15 years ago in an MSN ad I’m sure your capable of making something even better today. If you’ve released a DLC which is specifically adding air combat, it shouldn’t be dull from the first combat onwards.
I haven’t killed the behemoth yet to comment on whether it’s just a pain in the ass early on or whether it leads to something interesting, but the poorly explained interactions with it do not lend to positive assumptions.
Side point - (thought I posted this in here earlier but I can’t see it) one of the side missions about rescuing Mr Sparks brother seems broken; he spawns a long run from your troops, surrounded by enemies who are meant to be keeping him prisoner but they’re hostile to him. Turn one he gets executed every time, it makes very little sense.