Sid Meier's Ace Patrol iPad Review
- A novel take on air combat.
- Full campaign offers a decent selection of maps.
- Never truly feel connected to the war you are fighting.
- Sparse sound effects, and unintentionally amusing dialogue.
- Not Much variety.
Ace Patrol tries to apply the Civilization V template to WW1 air combat. Unfortunately, it a little too disjointed to fully engage.
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Sid Meier's Ace Patrol is the latest experiment from the acclaimed creator of the Civilization franchise. It's a game that echoes of the combat changes made to the series in Civilization V. Thrown into World War I, you take to the skies as a flying ace. It's up to you to master your aircraft: changing altitude, rolling, banking, and blasting your enemies until they burst into flames. However, these dogfights play out not in real time, but as a turn based experience on a hexagonal grid.
Most missions consist of either dogfighting with enemy forces, or protecting a train or supply depot (and dogfighting enemy force). Your plane can travel roughly three hexagons in a straight line if it maintains altitude, and can veer left or right. If you want to increase or decrease your altitude, your movement will be restricted. There are three levels of altitude, with the highest level offering the biggest combat bonuses. The game uses green arrows to notify the player when enemy planes are in range of your cannons. As long as you keep an eye on your position and don't try and take on too many planes at the same time, you have a chance of emerging victorious.
Back at base, you can recruit squad members, each of whom come with their own unique bonuses. As your pilots become more seasoned in battle, they learn more manoeuvres, which will come in handy as the fighting becomes more complicated and fierce.
As its a free to play game, any campaigns outside the initial offering are going to cost you money. But there are multiplayer matches as well to keep you interested.
But as a overall experience, Ace Patrol is disjointed at best. The presentation is pretty average, and the game doesn't have a clear sense of focus or progression. On top of that, the turn based combat is lacking. Maybe it's the stop and start nature of dogfights, maybe it's the snail's pace movement. Perhaps a melding of turn based and real-time might have been beneficial, as with Leviathan: Warships. But, as it costs nothing, strategy fans with a fondness for air combat should give this a try, if just to see what air combat in Civilization V would have looked like.