Rogue Aces is a fun side scrolling shooter. It has a charming art style that immediately pulls you in and it is backed by a gameplay system that encourages you to play it in short bursts. After the current surge of releasing indie games on the Nintendo Switch, Rogue Aces feels like a good title to sink your time especially if you want to play something that is good for a short amount of time and then easy to get back into later down the line.
The game takes its sweet time in making sure that you are able to understand the basic gameplay mechanics. There is a good tutorial at the beginning that will teach you the basics so once they are out of the way, you should have a good understanding of most of the game. The game is rather simple but the fun lies in its execution. The controls feel great and so does the sense of flying the plane into the sky to shoot down enemy planes.
There is no proper story presented here but the game does offer a campaign that is mainly divided in missions. There is the choice of picking either a male or female pilot although it doesn’t really do much in the context of the campaign mode. While the campaign mode attempts to present something different, it can also feel repetitive with its missions that are mostly the same in execution. The difference here is that the levels in Rogue Aces are procedurally generated which means even though you will be doing the same task in missions, they will require a different approach each time.
The progression is basically tied to a level up system. As you clear missions and perform certain tasks, your characters will gain experience points. You have a certain number of lives that will help your carry through the various missions but once you are out of them, it is essentially a game over. All of the experience points that you gather will be tallied at the end of your run and once your character gains a level, they will learn additional enhancements and upgrades helping them tackle missions easier.
The main campaign is divided in two different modes. The first one will be unlocked right from the get go while you can later unlock a frontline campaign mode that adds a little more strategy to the default gameplay. It won’t be possible to finish the campaign just from the first attempt but as you gain levels for your plane pilot, you should have an easier time dealing with the difficulty curve that the game can throw at you. Dying is not just limited to your plane getting blown, infact you can use a parachute to jump out of plane and during this phase, it is possible to use a limited set of moves like throwing grenades.
The visuals in the game deserve praise as well. There are plenty of nice and fluid animations on screen at times. Death of the characters and the destruction reminds me of the Metal Slug series, although it is not exactly a great point of comparison here. Overall, the game does invoke a feeling of nostalgia with its art direction. It is also easy to miss out some excellent attention to detail that the developers have created for the game. This also applies to the background which are highly detailed with lovely artwork.
As far as the flying is concerned, the sense of speed and dogfights is handled well so the combat feels good. You control the plane in 2D with the ability to maneuver it in any direction in the sky. The controls feel tight and precise when it comes to aiming and you can fly in circles around enemy planes to target them, which feels great. The lack of a co-op mode can be greatly missed here. Perhaps the developers could have offered a time attack or score based multiplayer mode to go along with the SP campaign, but it is sadly lacking here leaving you limited to just the single player portion of the game.
Rogue Aces Review (Switch)
Game Reviewed on: Switch
Game description: It's time to join the Rogue Aces and liberate the islands from The Baron and his dreaded pilots. Will you be able to face the fiercest of foes with only one life and three planes?
Rogue Aces is a fun little indie game tied to a decent progression system. It suffers from repetition but offers excellent controls that help mitigate some of its flaws.