Are you ready to take to the skies in an aerial combat strategy game set in World War I? If so, there’s now Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol which thrusts you into the action directing classic fighter planes in battles above enemy lines. Ace Patrol comes from Sid Meier who is one of the de facto names when it comes to strategy games based on Civilization Revolution, and Pirates. The difference with Ace Patrol, along with last week’s Haunted Hollow, is that the games are made from the ground-up for iOS, rather than just ports. The result is a smooth touch control scheme to effortlessly manage the strategic action on screen. Ace Patrol starts off deceptively simple for anyone to pick up, and play, again like Haunted Hollow, but there’s a whole lot of strategic depth to discover.
Rather than piloting the dogfighting planes, you simply choose the maneuvers for the plane to take on each turn. It’s a turn based strategy style, and you get to pick rolls, banks, slips, climbs, dives, loops, and more all indicated by various blue arrows on screen in front of your each plane. Once you get in firing range, the arrows turn green, and you get to pick which maneuver would cause the most damage. When you tap on an arrow, there’s a demo animation of the maneuver, and you tap again to lock in that move. When you’re attacking, the game provides a cut scene animation to let you see the offensive action play out in high quality 3D graphics. There are also 30 authentic aircrafts that look great in motion in all their bi-plane glory.
There’s so much potential on each turn with five to ten arrows to pick from, and you can also change the altitude level of your planes. There are also antiaircraft ground units, cloud banks, and differing enemy ships that require different altitude to gain the strategic advantage. The game does a great job of getting you in tune with each battle, and making every move important. Each plane you take down contributes to the overall storyline, which is well connected to authentic World War I missions. Speaking of missions, there are 120 to play through which nicely change up the objectives between offensive, and defensive battles. The game is Ace Patrol after all, so there’s an emphasis on upgrading your pilot and ship to have one plane take down multiple enemies in a given mission.
There’s just so much to enjoy, and anyone can fully appreciate all that’s included with the simple set-up combined with subtle intricacies to experiment with. The one main problem is that each mission starts off slow as you need to cover the significant gaps between planes, and there are other slow stretches as some enemy planes try to escape. Each aspect is so well designed to keep you immersed in the experience, and battling forward pushing back enemy lines as you battle from 1916-1918 in various campaigns of the different countries involved. Ace Patrol is free to play, and in this case it will cost $5 to unlock all 120 missions, with $0.99 to complete the British campaign, and $3.99 to unlock the French, American, and German campaigns in an all-in-one pack. The game is easily worth $5, and as soon as you play the first six levels included, you will be hooked.
Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol (Free, Universal) is a finely crafted strategic aerial assault that soars in the App Store providing such a worthwhile download.