Red Wings: Aces of the Sky PlayStation 4 Review
By: John C. Mayberry
Games involving aerial combat with arcade style gameplay have always proven to be a test for even the most seasoned gamers in one of the most entertaining ways possible. I’ll be the first to say that I’d be among the first popping quarter after quarter in at the sight of one of these. The best part of this is, although arcades are seemingly a thing of the nostalgic past, is now you can get similar games with the same entertainment value from your own couch, bean bag chair, recliner or whatever you deem to be the most sacred of gaming thrones. Red Wings: Aces of the Sky takes the classic concept of aerial combat games and enhances it to create a truly unique experience that would be appealing to even those who aren’t usually players or fans of games of this kind.
One out of the many good things about this game is that it’s available on multiple platforms, which include Nintendo Switch, Steam, X-Box One and PlayStation 4, making Red Wings available to a vast community of gamers so they all can enjoy this free-roaming aerial combat experience. You get a basic storyline that’s typical for arcade style games; in Red Wings you’re a fighter pilot who’s part of the Red Baron’s squadron during World War I, with the story progressing in the form of comic book pages which are well-drawn with great voicework as well as some of the best cell-shaded graphics I’ve ever seen. Progressing through the game you will receive stars, which can be used to buy upgrades for your aircraft, the number of stars you receive depending on how fast you can finish the level. To aid you in a battle you also do have a set of maneuvers to help you evade incoming attacks in those moments you find yourself overwhelmed, and a special attack of sorts where your pilot takes his sidearm out and shoots and enemy pilot and causing them to crash. Aside from these is the back up feature, where you can summon an ally to help dispatch the enemy squadron.
There is, unfortunately, no game that exists that is not without its own flaws, no matter how minor they are. Now in playing and replaying Red Wings, it took me a good while to pinpoint anything I thought needed improvement. The first thing I noticed was in how the free-roaming environment can make you a bit dizzy. For those who get things like for example, this may turn some away from even trying out the game. Things like the combos and skill tree could have used improvements too and made more complex to keep the player engaged. Really not too much wrong in Red Wings, since it is quite honestly one of the most fun times that I have had playing any arcade style game. Fans of comic book art would also appreciate the story’s progression through comic book pages in addition to the beautifully rendered cell shaded graphics to enhance the comic book feel of a game that is certainly going to stand the test of time for many years. So go home and download this immediately because no gamer in this world should ever have to live their entire lifespan without having played Red Wings: Aces of the Sky at least once. The very thought of anybody missing out on this game…that’s just not right, man.
- Graphics – Cell-shaded graphics have always been able to add a uniqueness to various games over the years, and Red Wings more than lives up to that with its beautifully rendered environments and aircraft, which further enhances the overall feel of nostalgia the game displays. The color schemes used also enhances this effect.
- Easy Controls – The controls are simple, straight forward and for a game of this type perfect. Absolutely nothing complicated which provides for a more relaxed and enjoyable experience
- Art Style – Very reminiscent of the comic books of old, as each in-between cutscene is depicted as a page from a war comic, complete with voice actors providing the dialogue in each cutscene.
- Multiple Planes/Skins – You have a variety of ten war planes to choose from, each with differences in their stats along with different skins for your aircraft. Except for the initial aircraft you’re provided, all planes and skins are unlockable, increasing replay value.
- Skill Tree – The skill tree allows players to upgrade their aircraft as needed based on its default stats.
- Free-Roaming Environment – You get a certain feeling of freedom just flying around trying to gun down your enemies, even if you’re dodging gunfire also. There is an invisible border the further you fly out, but not so close by, that it takes away from the game itself.
- Rewards – A basic upgrade system is available that is easy to follow, as opposed to other games being much more complicated and difficult. The replay value increases again as you’re challenged to complete a level as fast as possible for maximum rewards, which can be used in the skill tree.
- May Cause Dizziness – As fun as free-roaming environments are, they do however carry the drawback of occasionally inducing a degree of dizziness if played too long. This is especially true for aerial combat games, where your aircraft can fly around in any direction. While chasing enemies you could be left turning to one direction to get to them by the time you realize you’re going in circles.
- Difficult to Build Combos – Red Wings does have a combo system where you rack up points for every consecutive plane aircraft you take down. The issue here is that although you are given time to rack up the points, that timer does quite often run out before you’re able to reach another enemy plane, usually because they’re too far out or too far apart from each other.
- Skill Tree – In any combat game a skill tree is always a welcome addition since it adds a deeper element of gameplay that uses strategy to get the best results. The only minor complaint I have with it is that it’s not as intricate as it could’ve been. The skill tree seems to be for all planes by default, which does lower its replay value .
OVERALL RATING – 9.25 out of 10
An all-around fun and well-done game, I cannot stress that enough. Red Wings: Aces of the Sky is excellent in its simplicity and still retaining the ability to be absolutely addicting. I promise if you download and play this you will have a lot of trouble putting it down over extended periods of time.