Rogue Aces brings all the thrills and spills of dogfighting to the Switch, along with all the versatility you’ve become accustomed to with the console. On the first inspection, Rogue Aces appears to be the perfect pick up and play game, but are there any pitfalls that let it down? Read on to find out…
When you first load the game, you’ll choose your pilot’s gender, then you’ll be introduced to an army general who will guide you into your first foray as you take to the skies. The game wouldn’t look out of place in an arcade, and that by no means should be taken as a negative. Its quirky graphics and aerial shoot-em-up style lend itself perfectly to that genre.
The game is a 2D side-scroller, but not in the typical sense. The idea of just getting from Point A to Point B isn’t the be-all-and-end-all in Rogue Aces, as you’ll need to eliminate all enemies before progressing to the next level. This game could have quite easily fallen down in this regard if it had a rinse and repeat vibe to it, but there are over 100 randomly generated missions to complete in the campaign mode, and a decent amount of variety to them. From taking on other planes and tanks, you’ll have plenty of variety to be tackling. Beyond the normal mode, there is a frontline and veteran campaign where the former is a more difficult version of the normal mode, and the latter being more of a time-based game mode. Furthermore, there are arcade modes which include a survival mode and one where you’ll be defending objects rather than attacking them.
The beauty of Rogue Aces is that its very nature being unpredictable and each level being different from the last, you have a game where everything feels fresh. There’s so much diversity in the varying game modes, with frontline being my favourite. In frontline, you choose a route to enemy bases and will have an in-game time limit in which to complete it. Kind of like Majora’s Mask but without a creepy moon glaring down at you the entire time.
But there is one problem with Rogue Aces, and that is that it doesn’t lend itself to a casual playstyle from my point of view. First of all, the controls are really fiddly, and navigating the planes does require a decent level of skill. Far more skill than I could have envisaged. The tutorial which the game begins with isn’t overly helpful, and I ended up being frustrated with the first 30 minutes of my playthrough. Beyond that, the game started to shine. Once you master the controls and understand the way enemy planes operate, you’ll be primed to truly enjoy Rogue Aces.
That will take time, however. There were so many occasions where my plane short-circuited, crashed, nose-dived or was shot down. And when I learned how to avoid crashing, I would end up being shot down. Using the throttle and knowing when to accelerate or decelerate is a whole challenge within itself, and there’s also the small matter of making sure you parachute when falling from the sky, or not pressing the wrong button and ejecting yourself from your own plane as you’re nearing the end of a level. In Rogue Aces there is a lot of give and take, and the challenge aspect of the game leaves you wanting to come back and perfect the art of dogfighting.
Rogue Aces (Reviewed on Nintendo Switch)
This game is good, with a few negatives.
There’s little doubt about it, Rogue Aces is a very enjoyable game, and one of the best and most entertaining Switch games within its price range. Controls are hard to master to begin with, and impatient gamers will need to be more lenient with this game and give it time. If you do allow it time, then Rogue Aces rewards you with high-octane thrills and spills from start to finish.