B-17: Fortress in the Sky for the Nintendo DS is a port of a PC game that was originally published in 2001 under the title B-17 Gunner: Air War Over Germany. "Gunner" being the relevant word, as this lighthearted World War II shoot-'em-up puts the CPU in charge of flying the legendary B-17 aircraft while you primarily focus on aiming its numerous gun turrets. If you like blowing stuff up, you may enjoy shooting down German aircraft and destroying their factories for a short while. Unfortunately, there isn't enough variety or glitz here to hold your attention for much more than a half hour or so, let alone the four or five hours it takes to complete all 25 missions.
While the CPU flies the aircraft, you have to juggle between the nine gun positions.
Each mission follows the same formula. After an automatic take-off sequence, you'll find yourself on autopilot flying over enemy territory. During the first, third, and fifth legs of the journey, you have to defend the B-17 from German Messerschmitt and Focke-Wulf aircraft. The CPU does the flying; all you have to do is tap the shoulder buttons to cycle through the nine different gunner positions and shoot down any enemy planes you see. During the second leg of the trip, you'll come under anti-aircraft fire. The game will switch to a top-down view showing the terrain below. Your job is to move the plane left and right to avoid the puffs of smoke that represent the exploding AA shells. That's it, seriously. The fourth leg of the trip is the actual bombing run. It's similar to the anti-aircraft run, except that you're supposed to press down on the directional pad to lower the plane's altitude, and tap the A button to drop bombs onto factories and other targets below.
As you can see, the game is a shoot-'em-up more than anything else. During the defensive legs of the trip, all you're doing is switching turret views, positioning the turrets, and holding the fire button. You can use the stylus to change gunner views, but there's really no reason to because tapping the shoulder buttons is just as quick. The AA and bombing runs are the only instances when you have any control over the aircraft's movement, and that only entails banking left and right and adjusting altitude to a limited extent. If the shooting were varied, that sort of simplicity would be fine. However, the shooting just isn't varied. The defensive legs always involve using the machine guns against the same cookie-cutter airplanes, and the bombing runs simply involve unloading an unlimited supply of bombs onto ground targets that don't fight back. Even if you truly love blowing stuff up, you will succumb to the repetition after five or six missions.