I always get a bit of butterflies when I open up a game that has been developed by local South Africans. It honestly makes me oddly proud that our country is creating more and more games and the quality is getting better and better.
So when I received the code for Blazin’ Aces I started my download and then took a look at their launch trailer.
The first thing I thought of when I watched this was the old CGA game I used to play called Sopwith Camel. This is a game I spent many many hours on in my childhood. It was devilishly simple and yet impossible to master. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then take a look at this nostalgia-laden video.
So how does Blazin’ Aces on the iPhone compare?
Well I loaded up the game and the first oddity I noticed was that you could alter the size of the controller buttons on the screen which is a first for me. I set them pretty small so I could view the screen and started up. The game is also very simple, you have up and down buttons, a button to flip your plane and then a shoot and special feature button.
The special features are different things you can collect from falling crates in the sky while you dogfight with the AI players.
So far so good.. until I started to notice that the shoot button doesn’t always work and the up and down also appear to lag. After a while I realised it is because the hit markers on the buttons are just too small. I went into options and made the buttons much larger and things started to work much better.
Every level puts you, and sometimes some friendly aircraft, against a different number of enemy jets. The first to a set score wins the stage and you get points for taking out the enemy which is quite obvious.
Once you crash you can just launch again and you are also able to bail out of your damaged plane and run back to the base to get a new plane.
The game is decidedly fun but at the same time it feels like it is just missing something. I want to be able to bomb tanks on the ground, or take out houses or something. Just attacking the enemy planes all the time does start becoming a little boring.
That’s not to say the game has no depth. You can’t just fly around holding shoot because your weapon will start overheating, also as you start taking damage your plane will start handling worse and worse and you are definitely going to want to eject when the flames are spewing out of the back of your plane – before the enemy gets the points for taking you down.
My only main problem here is that the controls are just not responsive enough, if they can patch that then this could become quite the fun 5 minute game in those boring meetings. There is also a skirmish mode so you can set-up any sort of dogfight you want giving you some solid replayability.
So should you buy it? Well it’s available for $1.99 on the US iTunes store which I think is a full dollar more than it should be. But if you’re South African then give the guys some support and if they patch the responsiveness of the controls then a $2 purchase is well worth it.
Last Updated: May 9, 2014