This twin-stick shooter is a Desert Strike throwback except your helicopter talks, drinks blood, and defends the world from a lizard-man invasion

 A helicopter pilot.
Credit: Pizza Bear Games

My first PC game was a helicopter game. In fact, it was the helicopter game: 1982's Choplifter, which came with the Apple IIe computer my dad bought from Radio Shack. I played it until my thumb was sore from pushing the joystick button: bombing tanks and barracks on the ground, dodging jets in the sky, and rescuing the little hostages frantically waving for help. All these years later I still keep my eyes peeled for any new helicopter games with a bit of that ol' arcadey Choplifter spirit in them.

Oh, hello there, Megacopter: Blades of the Goddess. Yes, that is an incredible title for a game, and I'm happy to report that things only get better from the main menu. Here's the radical launch trailer to make my case for me:

Megacopter is a throwback to the Desert Strike series of helicopter games from the 1990s (which were in turn inspired by Choplifter) with that same kinda isometric view and levels that scroll in all directions. But as you can see from the trailer above there are some pretty big differences, too.

Like the fact that the earth is being invaded by green lizardmen called reptoids and your helicopter—your Megacopter—is sentient and needs to consume blood to live. Just imagine Knight Rider but if KITT murdered aliens and sucked up their blood through his vents, and was also a helicopter. As you blast your way through the map blowing aliens into bloody chunks, you can collect pizza tokens ('90s) to spend on upgrades back at your base. Better armor, bigger guns, energy and plasma weapons, and more.

Megacopter also has an enormous grappling claw so you can pick stuff up while you're turning aliens into red mist. Need to recharge your armor, pick up more missiles, or grab explosive barrels and drop them on Reptoids? Just hover and grab 'em like the world's deadliest claw machine.

There's a lot of laughs in the story segments of the game, too: the tough and gritty pilot you play is named "Jack Copter," and the general you report to immediately admits this mission isn't about your duty as a soldier, it's about "a pure thirst for blood." Everything is hyped up to be as badass as possible: when you capture radio towers which pinpoint enemies on the map, the game exclaims "MAXIMUM RADAR!" which always makes me laugh.

Megacopter: Blades of the Goddess is a whole lotta fun, not to mention challenging. Maybe too challenging for me? Let's face it, my Choplifter reflexes have long since expired and I don't last too long in MBotG before getting blown to bits. It's still a great time, though: strafing in circles while blasting alien invaders into bloody chunks never gets old. You'll find it here on Steam, where it's 15% off until July 5. There's also a free demo if you want to fly before you buy.