Developer: Bulkypix
Price: $3.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
User Interface Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Ace Ferrara and the Dino Menace opens up with two T Rexes – a brother and a sister – discussing how best to intimidate the human race that exiled them. The conversation turns to cardboard suits and flowing capes. Of course dinosaurs wearing cardboard boxes look ridiculous, and that sets the appropriate tone for this wonderfully weird ’80s-inspired space opera/shooter.

Ace Ferrara and the Dino Menace stars Ace, a military intern with big dreams about flying and fighting with the Proton Riders force. Though his first missions are disappointing (not to suggest escorting shipments of coffee is anything short of a sacred duty), he soon finds himself thrust into a firefight between the forces of good and the Rex (sentient dinosaurs that will not hesitate to “hatch your egg and eat your baby”). Upon demonstrating his piloting skills, Ace is promoted from intern to Expendable and he begins to fly missions regularly.

ace_03Dogfighting between the Proton Riders and the Rex makes up the majority of the action in Ace Ferrara. Players take down ships of varying speeds, sizes, and shapes, including tiny fighters and huge cargo behemoths. There are other hazards to contend with as well, including asteroids and space mines.

Simply firing and barrel-rolling cleans up most messes, which highlights Ace Ferrara‘s most notable flaw: it’s kind of simplistic. Players can only move from side to side; there’s no y-axis, which makes dodging hazards like space debris a bit cumbersome. It also makes space battles pretty straightforward.

But Ace Ferrara is meant to be enjoyed as a whole package, including its bright graphics and goofy story. The character designs are great – there’s simply no way to criticize the idea of militant dinosaurs flying in space, especially when said dinosaurs are put into jobs that fit their species (sauropods as the pilots of massive cargo ships? Good call!).

ace_05The game’s script is likewise light-hearted, and pretty funny as a result. A sentient British shorthair cat falls in love with Ace, to her brother’s great disapproval, and that’s just a start. Players that would rather skip the awkward feline/human drama and get straight to the fighting need not worry. The majority of the story is out of the way and completely optional. Quick summaries and step-by-step goals outline what needs to be done without any of the gab.

Though its combat lacks depth, Ace Ferrara and the Dino Menace is still a very funny, very satisfying play. It’s the most fun an intern can have in space.


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