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Review: Red Wings: Aces of the Sky

World War I was the very first-time aircraft were used in warfare, and through the blazing skies of bullets and fire, legends were forged. Tales of The Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen, and Alfred Ball would be forged is an action flight game-themed to the dangerous skies of World War One. This new title from All IN Games is an exceptionally refreshing entry, given the lack of aerial combat games currently in the market today. Red Wings: Aces of the Sky does not reinvent the way planes fly, but it does polish what already in work to an exciting, fun, and fluid aerial combat game.

It's World War One and for the first time in human history, the war will be fought in the air. German and British forces take to the skies to fight for air supremacy in The Great War. Bullets rip apart airframes and lives are ended in the clouds above, but in the chaos, legends and aces are born. Players can choose as either the Germans of the RAF to achieve victory in the first great air war.

Red Wings: Aces of the Sky has two campaigns. In each campaign, as either the Germans or the RAF, players embark on a multitude of missions, from escort missions to bombing runs to all out-out warfare with guns blazing across the skies. As an arcade game, Red Wings: Aces of the Sky has players earn stars. The higher the score, the more stars earned. Stars are a form of currency in Red Wings: Aces of the Sky and that currency leads to aircraft upgrades. The upgrades involve reducing damage, shorter cooldowns, and building their' one-hit-kill ability, where players draw their weapon and perform a headshot on an enemy pilot, instantly eliminating the enemy.

Red Wings: Aces of the Sky features strong aerial combat mechanics with controls that make the game excellent for casual players, but still strong enough for experienced players . Red Wings: Aces of the Sky uses a more casual setup. Players cannot perform yaw or barrel roll and can only turn left or right. Firing weapons feels accessible and actually has a strong feedback, using the HD rumble of the Nintendo Switch to give the sensation of firing a machine gun. The most important part of the gameplay mechanics of Red Wings: Aces of the Sky involve the face buttons. Each button is mapped to a special ability that the plane can perform. Players can call in AI wingmen to assist in downing a targeted craft. The barrel roll power makes players temporarily immune to fire and the flip give players an aggressive 180 turn to shake off a pursuing enemy. The top face-button allows for a special one0hit kill ability, where the player can execute an enemy pilot with their sidearm.

Overall, the combat in Red Wings: Aces of the Sky is engaging and sound. The cartoon-inspired visuals and graphics hold a remarkable style that makes the experience flamboyant, even when a hail of bullets is sent your way. The combat is strong and building the arcade multiplier is enjoyable. When players sink into it, Red Wings: Aces of the Sky becomes quite enjoyable and a nice, fresh experience that differentiates itself from other games. Of special note, the visual presentation lends itself well tot he atmosphere, including graphic-novel cutscenes that put players further into the game.

However, there is a significant setback to the enjoyment and that is the difficulty. To unlock more attributes to your aircraft, you need stars, and getting these stars is significantly challenging. A part of this is the amount of time spent on a mission. I suppose that is the point, but it can be rather frustrating. One mission has players destroying zeppelins, but the zeppelins need to be searched for. There is a cone to give an indication as to where they are, but not elevation, making the chances of getting three stars that much harder. Another example of a frustrating mission are flights through rings. In these emissions, your plane is low on fuel and you must hit each ring in the fastest path possible. If even one ring is missed, the fuel plummets and the level must be restarted. I found myself enjoying the combat missions better than the hoop missions, but with the fact that stars are necessary for upgrades, Red Wings: Aces of the Sky can become rather frustrating. I would have opted for secondary objectives to earn more stars and build upgrades faster.

Overall, Red Wings: Aces of the Sky is challenging and may frustrate some, but it is an otherwise solid game. There aren't many aerial combat games on the market at the moment, so seeing Red Wings: Aces of the Sky is a nice change of pace. While it could use work in the mission department, the combat is strong and the presentation is sharp. Red Wings: Aces of the Sky is great for arcade enthusiasts and casual gamers. Whether you are an ace or a rookie, Red Wings: Aces of the Sky is a good time.

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