Developer: 2K Games
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad Mini

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

018Ace Patrol is the latest title from Sid Meier and the team at Firaxis Games. Set during World War I, it’s the player’s job to guide a squadron of pilots in strategic turn-based gameplay. The free-to-play version features one stage from the British campaign with six single-player missions for players to engage in. If they want to play and beat the full campaign, which is three additional stages, they’ll have to purchase it for $0.99 cents.

Players are given a choice of three missions to choose from at the start of the game. Missions have a wide range of objectives, such as having players attack an enemy train, protect a surveillance plane, attack an enemy bomber, and dogfight in ace vs ace action. Players are able to decide on what mission to select based on the objective or how many points it offers. Those points are multiplied depending on the four available difficulty levels and help provide better scores for the leaderboards.

Pilots come with a special skill that will help players depending on how they want to play. This includes abilities such as being able to resist heavy flak damage or being able to perform high G maneuvers. As pilots are successful in missions, they’ll be able to level up and learn new maneuvers as well. Having the ability to take tight turns and flip a plane is crucial in dogfights, especially when facing an enemy ace pilot that will pull out all the best maneuvers.

016The gameplay is exciting with every move as players have a number of directions they can fly, depending on altitude, angle, and what maneuvers their pilots have learned. It becomes even more tactical when approaching enemy aircraft as players must decide how to approach them without getting into a bad position for enemy fire. There are many strategies on how to approach each situation, whether a player wants to go in slowly and force the enemy into making the first move, or simply go in fast for a quick attack. Each way has its own risks and rewards.

There is cloud cover on each map for planes to fly into, hiding them from enemy sight. This allows players to evade pursuing aircraft. There are also friendly and enemy surface weapons that can shoot down aircraft if they go within its targeting zone. Each mission is enjoyable and even satisfying enough to replay multiple times. Positioning aircraft correctly and successfully shooting down enemy planes feels rewarding and is much fun.

Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol is a fantastic strategy title that any fan of aviation or the genre will absolutely appreciate. There isn’t much excitement in terms of visuals or sound, but the most important factor is present, the gameplay. Players are given an ideal perception of what Ace Patrol offers for free, and I can’t imagine too many people turning down the option to purchase full campaigns for $1.99, $0.99 for the remaining British campaign. Multiplayer is also available to steal away time with online versus through Game Center and two-player hot-pad.

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