[PAX EAST] Hands On With Red Wings: Aces of the Sky

Written by Derek Wright

Take to the Skies

Nothing replaces the thrill of seeing the skyline for the first time while in the air. The first time I flew was a mix of exhilaration and fear. It was a short trip for work, an hour and fifteen-minute flight to replace a ten-hour drive. It still boggles the mind at how human engineering has allowed us to cover such distances. Even though I arrived safely, a thought came to my mind, “How did early pilots feel when flying such risky machines?” While I do not have the answers for such deep questions, I do know what the next great World War I arcade fighter pilot game will be, Red Wings: Aces of the Sky.

Many of us have played a flying game of some kind in our gaming career. Whether it was piloting an Arwing in Starfox or navigating the open-air in Flight Simulator, flying has been present in games for ages. Red Wings immediately feels closer to Starfox, except it doesn’t. The open arena levels in Starfox 64 are very close to how Red Wings plays, mixed with a bit of the combat from the After Burner series. It has a very arcade feel and I say that with the highest regard being a fan of the old coin-op machines.

Do a Barrel Roll

When I sat down to play the title, I was able to choose my flying machine from a few different options. I had to choose the historical plane of the Red Baron, not because of the history nerd I am, but because I am a Peanuts fan. After this, I jumped into a gauntlet style survival mode. Me and one of the development team sat out to not only conquer our opponents, but race against the clock as well. The first wave started off easily enough and between the two of us, all the enemy ships were quickly dealt with.

The ship controlled with ease and the complicated maneuvers such as barrel rolls and 180° turns are handled with single button presses that are on a cooldown timer. This game made me feel like I was an ace flyer within seconds, being able to pick up the controller and immediately feel like I can do something cool. I appreciate that sentiment. Regardless, that didn’t mean my time in survival was any easier.

Curse You, Red Baron!

As the waves continued, more and more enemies appeared on screen, more fearsome than the rest. Relying on every available maneuver was key. The barrel roll allows you to dodge sticky situations, but it also doubles as an offensive maneuver. Think bumper cars, but in the air. It felt odd flying straight into an enemy only to barrel roll at the last moment but knocking them out of the sky felt great. The last ability I saw in the demo was the super move. It was a kill shot that must be built up by downing enemies throughout the match. Once it is charged, you get a nice cinematic takedown. The pilot will pull a pistol out, point into the direction of the enemy ship and KABLAM! Pulling this off also fills up your health, win-win situation.

Unfortunately, my time with the demo ended and I had to part ways with Red Wings. Before I left, I garnered much about the game, including that it will have a long story/arcade mode, unlockables and a few types of multiplayer. Thankfully though, we don’t have too much time to wait.

Red Wings: Aces of the Sky comes in for a landing on Nintendo Switch in 2020.

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