There’s plenty of flying games that make players into an ace fighter pilot, but very few of them take a humorous approach in doing so. Rogue Aces is a very cartoonish interpretation of this, with all of the dog fights and explosions one would expect in a World War 2 themed flying game. Simple controls and colorful visuals keep the action lighthearted and cheeky, but still fast-paced and addictive enough for those that want a game that’s quick to get into. A slight curve in the difficulty might cause some frustration, but you’ll find yourself restarting each time you fail in order to get a little further ahead, despite there not being a whole lot to see overall.
Rogue Aces doesn’t have a story to follow, despite having a campaign modes where you complete various missions. You control a fighter jet and destroy enemies on land, sea, and in the air. Most of the time you’ll be ordered to shoot down a certain number of enemies or destroy locations within the area in order to complete missions. You get rewarded with points for doing so, which you can spend on areas to land your jet and regroup your fuel and weapons, but you don’t get much else besides that. There are three kinds of campaigns to play through, which offer different spins on the gameplay, but the primary set up is the same for each one.
The controls are great here and allow you to skim through the skies with ease. If you aren’t careful though, you’ll quickly crash on the ground or into the sea for being careless. Not to mention shot at by the enemies that lurk around the area. While flying around and shooting at enemies is good, landing your craft in bases is a little restrictive. You have to spend points in order to auto-land within a base, but can’t do so manually.
Trying to land on your own will result in you either crashing or falling off the side into a watery grave. The auto-land option is welcomed and can always be used, but it’s silly not being able to land the craft without the use of it. In addition, starting a new game each time does allow you to choose your pilot and level up your ace pilot status, which can give you a bonus at the start. This doesn’t last long however, and does make the pilot leveling feel a bit wasted here.
Outside of the campaigns, there are a few Arcade Modes that you can play with different stipulations and changes to the game. Unfortunately you don’t have them open when you first start the game. You have to play through the Normal campaign enough in order to access them. The same can be said for the additional playable campaign modes, but the conditions to earn any of them can be a bit confusing. There’s no way to tell in-game how to reach milestones that unlock the alternate game modes, or anything to keep track of your progress towards them. There are in-game stats that show what you’ve done along the way, but nothing indicating the kinds of rewards you can earn or how to get them. The best bet is to just keep playing and doing well, but any sort of information or hints about them would have been appreciated.
There is no multiplayer with Rogue Aces, local or online, which is a shame because the campaign and arcade modes would’ve benefitted from it. This can make things a bit repetitive playing alone, even though there are slight differences between the modes that try to mix things up. However, once you play through a few sessions of either a campaign or arcade mode, then you’ve already seen everything that the game has to offer. For some, this might lead to a very short experience.
Rogue Aces is colorful and easy to get into, even though it might not have much to stick with in the long run. The arcade style flying and air combat is well-done and has a silly sense of humor all around. But the lack multiplayer and repetitiveness of the gameplay might turn some players off after just a few sessions. For those that want a quick game to have fun with on a trip, Rogue Aces has enough to do so. Others that are looking for something more beyond that might not find what they seek here.
This review was based on a digital review code of Rogue Aces for the Nintendo Switch, provided by Curve Digital.