On this edition of Play It, we look at an ambitious game that manages to look great, have a story, and handle well. Ace Pilot is an overhead shooter with a great look to it. The gameplay is all well and good, but the look of the game and storytelling is the star. You play as an ace pilot in an intergalactic fleet. You have been tasked with stopping the invasion of Kim Jong Krill on an uninhabited moon.
The controls work. They're not anything to write home about, but they're efficient. You aim your ship with the mouse, fire with the left button, speed up/slow down with W/S, and quickly dodge left/right with A/D. You quickly gain access to other weapons as the story advances.
The draw of Ace Pilot is the quality of animation and storytelling. It's beautiful for an online only game. It makes great use of perspective, has strong character design, and really captures the feel of fantasy space art. The game also isn't afraid of color, which is a nice change for a shooter.
More importantly, there's a good story going on here. It's funny--if a little crass at times--and it keeps you playing. The game is so sure of its story concept and your desire to keep playing that you will have an opportunity to finish each stage. Your computer tech shows up to fix your downed ship every time it can't fly anymore. Once you clear the stage, you're right back into the great cut scenes.
If Ace Pilot were just an online video, it wouldn't be nearly as effective. The story works because you get to play a part in it. Let's face it: a wisecracking captain fighting an evil empire is nothing new. An online overhead shooter that actually focuses on a fully animated story is a novelty.
Ace Pilot takes a bit of strategy to get through the levels and the difficulty ramps up with each stage. It's easy enough to understand that anyone could pick up and play, but hard enough that more experienced games will feel some challenge as the it goes on.
For having a whole lot of style and a focus on storytelling, Ace Pilot is a game you should play.
Thoughts? Love to hear them.