Anyone old enough to have played Wings of Fury and the like will instantly recognise the look and feel of Rogue Aces from the team at Curve Digital.
You begin via a series of standard tutorials where you learn the ropes of flying your kite under the watchful eye of a British Captain straight out of Jeeves and Wooster central casting.
The control systems took a few goes to get the hang of, the left stick regulates the planes flight path while the right one governs the throttle. We had many a crash early doors from pushing up on the left stick to go down and likewise the other way around although with practice, the muscle memory kicked in putting an end to those moments of silliness
Control issues aside, we can’t fault the games overall design with its detailed and finely animated sprites and consistent stylings across the enemy ships, airplanes and military personnel. We were particularly taken by the games use of a time of day cycle which can offer moments of spectacular beauty particularly in relation to the visual effects associated with the sun when your plane’s silhouetted against it.
The sound effects from the gun noises to the explosions are also finely done as is the dynamic soundtrack. While the action is hard and fast so is the hard rock that accompanies the game – during the brief periods of rest bite, things quieten down to the point where only your engine can be heard buzzing away – it’s all very effective
As for the gameplay, the premise is relatively simple and yet things can get relatively deep. We’ve spent much of the time in Rogue Aces within the campaign mode where the randomly generated islands and objectives will keep you busy for hours. These missions range from destroying a given number of enemy planes, destroying a certain number of enemy tanks right up to the almost impossible task of sinking a battle ship all on your own. You complete this campaign mode by making your way through 100 of these missions and while you only have three planes in which to do this, you upgrade as you progress and keep these extra abilities as you play your way through the missions.
One of the most fun aspects of Rogue Aces happens after your plane’s destroyed or if you double hit the a button where you eject your pilot and see them hopefully parachute to safety. While you’re on your way down, you have access to an unlimited supply of grenades that your able to throw towards your enemies – we found this option to be a surprisingly effective tactic against some of the larger enemies and their bases rather than having to rely on the rather underpowered weaponry attached to your aircraft.
Another aspect of fun to be had post ejection comes from your pilot being able to hijack an enemy plane mid flight – all you need do which at times is harder than it sounds is to line your chap or lady up with the enemy’s cock pit and there you go. While perhaps at first a bit of fun, by doing this your able to refuel and rearm without landing back on your carrier or captured airbase – in this way, the limit on the number of planes your able to use increases from three to potentially an unlimited number depending on your skills and gaming ability.
Once you’ve finished off the campaign, you unlock a time attack variant, a “Veteran Campaign Mode” that offers no player aids together with a number of additional Arcade Modes which are secret variants to be found while you play – a quick hint of one of these, be sure to check out the credits. With these add on extras Rogue Aces certainly has a fair amount of replay ability, perhaps even more so if there was the option of playing alongside a buddy in couch co-op which we felt would be a natural extension.
We’ve rather enjoyed our time with Rogue Aces. Aside from it’s classic arcade looks and Stella audio, It’s fun to play, highly entertaining and offers a reasonably robust challenge and once your done with that, there’s more options within the end game to keep you coming back for more – if we had one tiny issue, we would have liked to see a little more variety within the procedural missions although we cant use that little flaw as a stick to beat a game we’re happy to recommend to those wanting some arcade style gaming enjoyment.
Rogue Aces is available now on the PS4, Switch and the Vita.
A copy of Rogue Aces was given to Get Indie Gaming on the Nintendo Switch prior to launch for review purposes.