WORLD War I flying games are few and far between, unfortunately – the last serious one was 2009’s DLC-tastic Rise of Flight and before that Red Baron II in 1997 was the gold standard.
While this latest game isn’t a serious WWI flight simulation, it is a decent arcade flying game and it is set during WWI, which is enough to have piqued my interest.
Red Wings: Aces Of The Sky, developed and published by All In! Games for Nintendo Switch, is a WWI-themed arcade flight game. The game lets you fly as the Triple Alliance (Germany/Austro-Hungarian Empire/Ottoman Empire) or the Entente Powers (UK, France and Russia) and you shoot down other aeroplanes and observation balloons whilst trying not to be shot down yourself.
Let me reiterate: This is an arcade game. The controls are not even remotely realistic, it’s all viewed from a third person perspective, there are balloons hanging around the area with hoops you fly through to refuel and repair your plane, your plane’s engine won’t suddenly conk out and spray oil everywhere, and you can perform an Immelman Turn with the press of a single button.
With all that in mind, how is it? Actually not bad, but nothing to write home about either.. There’s 50 missions in the game (and you can play co-op too), there’s a number of different planes from both sides to fly, and it’s challenging although a bit shallow at times.
You can upgrade your flying abilities as you progress, swapping out your abilities to enable different manoeuvres and the like, but the missions usually involve shooting down all the other planes or flying through hoops – you don’t have to take off or land or any of that sort of thing, which removes a lot of the challenge since trying to pancake a shot-up plane is a skill pretty much every self-respecting digital flying ace should succeed in doing at least once.
The part of me that really likes Victorian/Edwardian/WWI history was really hoping for something a bit meatier from Red Wings; but the part of me that wanted to fly around in an SE5a and pretend to be Biggles was also quite happy too.
The game does fairly well at setting the stage for the missions too, with period-appropriate music and the somewhat comic book-esque graphics work well in the context of the game too.
It gets a bit repetitive and doesn’t involve any actual WWI flying skill (because people forget that the early planes weren’t much more than kites with engines in them), but it’s a diverting game that gets some bonus points for being set during WWI, which is an era that hasn’t received a lot of attention lately.
Overall, Red Wings: Aces Of The Sky is a straightforward but uncomplicated arcade flying game that’s not going to break any records – in short, it’s perfectly mediocre – but not every game has to be a fully-realised immersive sim or AAA blockbuster either.
While it’s not necessarily worth a sortie for right this second, as long as you know what you’re signing up for it’s worth a recce at some point.