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28 May 2022

REVIEW: Red Wings: American Aces on Nintendo Switch

Review by Jon Donnis
Red Wings: American Aces is set in World War 1, and from the moment you start the game you can tell a lot of care has been put into making the game look rather special. 

The game itself is centred around 3D dogfighting, you control a WW1 aircraft, and in pure arcade style you need to take out the enemy. 

There are 3 main modes, Online, Local and Campaign.

Online mode will have you fighting against others (maximum of 9) in pure dogfighting action, Last Man Standing, Score Battle, or Time Battle. You can even pick teams and battle against other teams online.

Local mode has you doing the same as Online mode, but against one other opponent, that being against another human player, or a CPU controlled opponent. 

Now as much fun as those two modes are, they are very much for the long-term interest of the game. But in the short term you need a challenge and this is where the campaign mode comes in. 30 missions to complete, each mission has certain aims. Maybe as simple as taking out a few waves of enemies, or it might be more specific like destroying hidden airships while fighting off the enemy trying to protect them. Bombing runs are fun, as well as the classic game of flying through hoops, (in this game you fly through a hope to refuel).

As you progress through the Campaign you can upgrade your pilot skills through a Skill Tree, as well as improve your special abilities.

For example, if an enemy is charging head on, a carefully timed barrel roll is perfect for not only avoiding their bullets but also destroying them if you make contact. You can also tag an enemy and get friendlies to attack on your command, as well as the quick U-turn manoeuvre.

As you complete each level you aware awarded stars depending on how successful you were and these are what you spend on the skills tree.

With 15 different planes to eventually unlock and use, there is plenty of choice as you progress.

The levels themselves all have different backgrounds and features, including thunderstorms and sandstorms, each creating their own problems for you.

The plane controls are pretty simple, speed up, slow down, barrel roll, quick turn, it all feels very natural, and you always feel very much in control.

Along with the arcade gameplay, there is a story to tell, and WW1 is a serious story, everything is told truthfully, with little sugar coating. You could argue that such a serious story takes away from what is a fun arcade game, however I felt that if you want to deal with a serious subject you have to be serious in telling that story.

The Good
This game really fits well on a Nintendo Switch Lite, which is what I played it on. I have played Red Wings on PC, but on a handheld console I just think the whole experience feels more fun. Everything looks great, and just the feeling or taking down an enemy in a hail of bullets never gets old.

The Bad
Nothing really, the game delivers on what it says it will.

I really enjoyed playing Red Wings: American Aces, it is a good old fashioned arcade shooter, but with modern graphics.
A fun experience that I can recommend to people of all ages.

I score Red Wings: American Aces a solid 8/10

Out now on Steam and Nintendo Switch

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