Sid Meier's Ace Patrol Review

Ohohohoho! Sacre Bleu! <Insert more stereotypical French comments here>

  • Developer: Firaxis Games
  • Publisher: 2K Games
  • Release Date: 28 August 2013
  • Time played: 2 hours

Hey look it's another game with Sid Meier's name on the front of it, but this time it's a mobile game. WHAAAT? Firaxis makes games for mobile? Well it was bound to happen sooner or later I guess, let's just hope it doesn't become a habit and they stick to their hardcore strategy games like the Civilization series :). So what is Sid Meier's Ace Patrol about?

Gameplay (3/5)
Sid Meier's Ace Patrol is a casual strategy game where you get to order WWI fighters in aerial combat. You get to a pilot and a wingman but eventually you have a squadron of four pilots under your command. Pilots gain experience after battles which you can then use to teach them new skills. Planes also improve during the course of the war so you usually have a choice between one of two planes for each pilot, and each plane have different strengths and weaknesses, such as speed, manoeuvrability, etc.

Each mission takes place on a hexagonal grid (war game enthusiasts in the audience rejoice!) and your planes can fly at different altitude levels. The goal for each mission can vary between escorting reconnaissance planes, attacking supply trains or simply eliminating the enemy. You achieve this by directing the planes under your command in the mission to perform different aerial manoeuvres. As they gain more experience, they gain more manoeuvres which make them more effective fighters. Which difficulty setting you're on and how much damage you inflict and how much you receive determines what you'll be awarded as a score at the end of the mission. So there's some incentive there to go back and beat your existing score.

The game is mildly entertaining and I can appreciate there is some strategy involved especially on later missions (and I was only playing on Easy difficulty). However the only reward you will receive from playing more efficiently is a higher score, very much the old school train of thought to rewarding players. While that's fine for many players, and probably effective on a mobile platform, I need a bit more from my PC game in order to keep me interested.

This is the key to success. Increasing the repertoire of manoeuvres you can use against the enemy.

Sound (2/5)
Sound effects are of an average quality but one thing that annoys me (and I think it's because it's a mobile port) is that you can't change the audio volume in-game. You can only turn it on and off, and by default the volume is really loud. Also the voice acting can be quite comical like when the Germans get shot down. They're probably not too far from the accents to be found in a TV series like Hogan's Heroes.

I also still don't understand why balloons would make the sound of a plane diving into the ground.

Music (3/5)
Music is also of an average quality and suffers from the same volume issues as the sound effects.

Graphics (3/5)
Graphics can be best described as basic 3D models - so you don't have any fancy effects here but keep in mind this was originally meant to be a mobile game so it's understandable. They're not too bad that they detract totally from the gameplay though except the explosions sometimes looks like cardboard cut-outs.

Replay (2/5)
I managed to finish one of the campaigns in only 2 hours. Since there are four campaigns available (American, British, French and German) there should be at least 8 hours of gameplay there. Mind you, I was only playing on Easy difficulty so you could always return playing on harder difficulty settings to accumulate more points in each mission. There are also achievements to hunt for too - so there's quite a bit to do here but unfortunately the game still hasn't tempted me to play more than one campaign.

Polish (5/5)
I didn't encounter any significant issues while playing Ace Patrol so it's a fairly well polished title. Controls seem to work well on a PC, even though it's a mobile port.

Score – 6/10

Sid Meier's Ace Patrol is a fun WWI aerial combat strategy game and probably a ground-breaking game for the mobile market, but at only 2 hours for a campaign this is definitely no Civilization. The game unfortunately lacks any longevity that other games with the Sid Meier moniker are renown for. If you're a Sid Meier fan though and see this on sale, it might be worth a look.

If you want to get the game, you can get it on Steam.

If you like this game, you might like...

[ LINK: Official Sid Meier's Ace Patrol website ]