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A.C.E. Air Combat Elite

For: iPhone

Short haul flight

Product: A.C.E. Air Combat Elite | Publisher: Nebula Soft | Format: iPhone | Genre: Shooter | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0.0
A.C.E. Air Combat Elite iPhone, thumbnail 1
You know how they say dogs begin to resemble their owners? Well it seems we’re going to have to make a similar link between air combat games and the planes they feature.

A.C.E. Air Combat Elite closely resembles the kind of antiquated fighter planes you get to pilot in the game: immediately engaging but possessing a dodgy, clapped-out engine, and critically limited range.

Straight into the fray

Having selected your plane - you’re given the first one and can buy and upgrade up to four more - you’re thrown right into battle with a scant line of explanation from your advisor.

Each of the four Story mode campaigns involves a few sorties against increasing numbers of enemy fighters, followed by a boss fight against a super unit and its backup.

The combat itself is a top-down affair with navigation handled by tilting your device to rotate left and right, whereas your velocity is adjusted by holding the top-left of the screen to speed up and the bottom-left to slow down.

Firing requires you to touch the right side of the screen (if you opt to deactivate auto-fire, as I did).

It’s an intuitive system, once you’ve got used to the steering sensitivity. Combat soon slips into a pattern of overlapping ‘S’ manoeuvres in order to flank your opponent. The odd burst of speed is sufficient to carry you out of their line of fire, and a flick of your handset will initiate a table-turning 180 degree half-loop.

Back in time for breakfast

In fact, it’s all a little too easy to make progress. I waltzed through the entire campaign in about half an hour, having died only once. This was during the penultimate battle and even then it was only because I’d grown tired of my effortless domination and had opted to buy a new, detuned plane for the task.

The game engine visibly struggles at times. It consistently chugged on my second-generation iPod touch whenever I performed a 180-degree turn, and when the screen filled with ten or so units near the end the action slowed to a crawl.

A.C.E Air Combat Elite is like a World War II fighter plane in the modern era: fun to tinker with, but severely limited when pitched against today’s elite.
A.C.E. Air Combat Elite
Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy | 20 July 2010
Too short, too easy and suffering from technical stutters, A.C.E. Air Combat Elite crashes and burns before it can enter the fray
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