Red Wings: Aces of the Sky brings you a conflict you may not know too much about. World War One was the first World War but it’s usually overlooked gaming wise compared to it’s younger sibling World War Two. You may have heard of the Red Baron, Manfred von Richtofen, ‘the Red Baron’, the most famous flying fighter of World War One. The Red Baron was a fantastic pilot, famous for his red-painted, Fokker tri-plane and took out many Allied aircraft. Red Wings: Aces of the Sky doesn’t have you playing as the Red Baron throughout but actually as part of his squadron or his enemies i.e. the Allies.
Red Wings: Aces of the Sky is a World War 1 combat flight simulator with a bit of a twist. You can choose one of more than 10 historical warplanes of the Entente Powers (France, GB, and Russia) or the Triple Alliance (Germany, Austria-Hungary & Italy. You will take part in a series of unique historic events and pretty over-the-top, comic book-style adventures in your quest with or against the Red Baron. There are 50 or so missions split between which team you decide to fly on.
Whilst the story revolves around World War One and the Red Baron, the historical context Red Wings: Aces of the Sky uses is not as deep or accurate as it could be. The cartoony arcade presentation makes Red Wings: Aces of the Sky come across quite fun and does get your interest at the start. As you make your way through the missions the story becomes a little less engaging. Being able to play on both sides isn’t new to gaming but this feels somewhat like the old Command and Conquer Red Alert story telling, the ‘good’ side having a certain perspective whilst playing on the Red Baron’s side you get to see their point of view even if it ends up being the losing point of view. Between the missions you get to see the communications sent by pilot back home detailing the effects of war.
The main crux of Red Wings: Aces of the Sky is the dog fighting which for the most part is a lot of fun in the beginning but soon that wanes as you’re introduced to a set of repetitive missions. There is your standard dog fighting that is quite entertaining as you and your squadron take on the enemy. The next kind of mission is very similar but you need to protect some blimps. A bomb dropping mission follows these which tries to mix things up a bit but there quite boring. Finally there is a refuelling task which is about as much fun as it sounds, you just fly through some rings and repeat. It’s a bit of a shame as the dogfighting element is really involving, if that was build upon then Red Wings: Aces of the Sky could have been a bit of a gem but the repetitive nature of what you need to do does grate about halfway in. You are awarded between 1-3 stars which can be used to upgrade different features of your skill tree.
Graphically Red Wings: Aces of the Sky looks quite well going for a cel shaded environment which matches the comic book narrative. There isn’t a great deal on screen but watching planes fly past you as you’re shooting at them is never dull. The audio fits in with the arcade feel of Red Wings: Aces of the Sky but just like the graphics it’s not particularly deep on that front. There is local co-op in Red Wings: Aces of the Sky which is quite entertaining as you try to organise some kind of plan to beat the enemy.
Red Wings: Aces of the Sky is a fun game to play that plays a little loose with historical events. The dogfighting element is by far the most engrossing, it’s just let down by the repetitive nature of the mission structure. If you’re looking for a World War One combat flight sim then there isn’t much competition out there but Red Wings: Aces of the Sky will let you pilot it to some reasonable success.