Ever since Tom Cruise immortalised those oft-misquoted words “I feel the need; the need for speed” in the classic 1986 movie Top Gun, people everywhere have been in love with the thrill of fast-paced dogfighting action. Indie dev Red Dot Lab looks to tap into this groundswell of enthusiasm, still very much alive even three decades later, with its debut title Blazin’ Aces.
Blazin’ Aces is an unapologetic straight-up action dogfighter, pitting the player against waves of enemy aircraft across a number of campaign levels. During each stage, players notch up the required points by hitting and destroying aircraft to achieve victory. However, don’t expect victory to come easily, particularly during the later levels. While lining up enemy pilots in your crosshairs is the order of the day, racking up kills is by no means assured. When you do manage to shoot an enemy pilot down in a huge ball of flaming wreckage, you’ll feel like pulling out a really expensive cigar and taking a few puffs in victorious satisfaction.
As should rightly be the case in such a title, the action mostly revolves around good ol’ fashioned, fast-paced dogfighting action, intersped with intense bursts of close-quarters combat. Fortunately, the controls are tight and responsive, meaning you can pull off some pretty hair-raising moves, like barrel rolls, keeping the action fresh and ever changing. Random weapon upgrades like seeker missiles and EMP bombs also drop from the sky frequently, which can quickly turn the tide of the battle in your favour.
Once you finish the campaign a customisable skirmish mode is tacked on, which offers some replayability. But, as much fun as Blazin’ Aces is, you likely won’t find yourself strapping into the pilot’s seat for long periods of time. Blazin’ Aces lacks thet depth that will entice you to keep coming back time and time again. Rather than random weapons dropping out of the sky, a simple plane upgrade system would have offered far more incentive to strap back in.
As the first title from Red Dot Lab, Blazin’ Aces is an incredibly fun and worthy love letter to the classic dogfighter. Undoubtedly, if you’re after a quick fix on the go, then Blazin’ Aces will likely scratch that itch. Just don’t expect it to provide unlimited hours of constant entertainment.
Grab the game here.