Rogue Aces is a little cracker. The FNGR GNS Review;
Rogue Aces is a delightful game. Don’t worry, there’s a full review coming after this line though perhaps I could just leave it there? I’ve had a blast with this title, I think it’s because it threw nostalgia feels at me in a way that Ready Player One could only dream of. It’s a reminder that in this age where everything we loved from our childhoods is returning and looking a little shinier, Rogue Aces joins a list of games that throw up nostalgia, has solid and surprisingly deep gameplay and a joyous visual style. The difference is of course, Rogue Aces is brand spanking new and deserves a straight up destruction of your rose-tinted glasses and instead should be judged amongst its 2018 peers.
The premise is brief but simple to understand. It’s a time of war, and the British seem delightfully jolly about it. You play as a pilot who has to take out instructions via your superiors whilst flying around in your brightly coloured planes – with handling that’s superior that those godawful spitfires in Far Cry 5, let’s be clear about this. Your missions, should you choose to accept them (which you should, otherwise there’s very little game to play) are to take out buildings, jet fighters, ships, parachuting enemies heading toward your base and blow the ever living Churchill out of everything below you without crashing. Easier said that done, at least at first. You get a brief second change at survival if you do tear it into the ground with the ability to parachute your pilot out of the way of the explosion which will allow you to give it a jolly good second try (you get three before it’s game over). You’re going to crash a fair bit at first so it’s wise to learn this technique as soon as you can.
A particular Aces up Rogue’s sleeve is that the levels and your missions are procedurally generated, so every playthrough is going to feel very different, and allows you to pick up a variety of techniques without you noticing, as each enemy is normally in different areas of the maps, whether it be on the road, in the air or in the sea. Your planes come packed out with machine guns, missiles and rockets. Each are very handy dependant on your enemy. You don’t have an awful lot of the missiles and rockets so you’ll want to ensure you don’t waste them. Your machine guns are handy for dogfighting in the air whereas should your mission mean you need to attack an enemy on the ground your best bet is normally missiles or rockets.
There one was particular mission where i had to take down a train whilst it was moving and I had used all of my rockets and failed, so I ended up having to fly very low to ensure my missiles hit the train. It was risky, but it ended up working. It wasn’t until after this I realised I could fly back to my base to restock on ammo, but don’t tell anyone. Success is rewarded generously and it’s a hell of lot of fun knocking out these missions one after the after in quick succession. Your commander is always mightily impressed. Unless you crash into the ground.
Difficulty ranges from ‘really bloody easy’ to ‘I’m going to scream’, but Rogue Aces eases you in quite naturally to the spike. You can continuously update your planes abilities, whether it be increasing your fuel, fire rate and heavy ammo capacity. Each time you head back to base you’re prompted to press X (or your consoles equivalent) to land safely. You can also land on your own without the prompt but…well, don’t. It’s not pretty.
Away from the main game mode are a nice variety of unlockable game modes, which you can open as your progress through the campaign. There’s a great selection of ‘Arcade’ modes which range from Bomber Defence, Rogue Ace, Survival – my personal favourite – and more. There’s plenty of bang for your buck and if the game grabs you, it’s not gonna let you go for a long while. You’re going to want to master it.
It goes without saying I think that I’ve had a blast with Rogue Aces. It’s the kind of game I want to sink more and more time into and one I’m struggling to put down even if AAA behemoths are screaming at me (I’LL GET TO YOU SOON KRATOS, JEEZ). I’ve been playing it primarily on my PS4 but I’ve been convinced I’ll enjoy it even more on the Switch, so I’ll be picking it up there also. The procedural nature of it all means I feel like I won’t be replaying the same thing over and over, so makes sense for me to double up on a game I’ve really enjoyed.
It’s a game that wears its heart on its sleeve and is full of fun and exciting gameplay, which in its more tricky areas requires your attention. It looks terrific and runs like a dream, you may expect it considering the 2D visuals but there are moments I felt like I was playing a cartoon and the grin wasn’t going away. The music is also ballistic and over the top which adds to its madcap nature. It’s best to just roll with it and know you’ll come out of the other side having enjoyed this absolute cracker.
Rogue Aces is out now on PS4 (reviewed on PS4 Pro), Nintendo Switch and PS Vita.
Developer: Infinite State Games
Publisher: Curve Digital
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review we were provided with a review code from the publisher. For our full review policy please go here.