There is nothing complicated about the setup of Aces of the Galaxy, you select your space ship and then seconds later you’re in the game. The game itself is considerably more complex though. Enemies come at you from all directions, ranging from the standard little space ships that come in twos and sometimes threes, to the big sometimes invisible spaceships that, if on target, can deal out a massive amount of damage onto your puny little hull.
Your own ship comes with three types of weapon. You have the standard laser as your primary weapon, and the standard missile which shoots two missiles with a wait of 5 seconds before you can shoot again, Your ship is also equipped with multi-target rockets, which are supremely useful when the screen begins to fill with hundreds of enemies. By holding down the X button you can lock onto multiple enemies by moving the cursor over them and then unleash a hail of rockets.
Throughout the level there are various opportunities to upgrade your weapons via power-ups that will be floating around the level. These upgrades serve many useful purposes, including of the ability to lock onto more enemies for the multiple rockets attack.
Aces is definitely a fast-twictch game, the action is fast-paced with little to no time for rest. If you think that clearing the screen of enemies will buy you sometime before the next wave appears then you are gravely mistaken. They just keep swarming, with the only rest being at the end of the level.
Each level is a planet and you are offered the choice to pick what planet to move onto next. There are three different paths you can take, one path is a fire planet, one is an asteroid planet and the last one is an ice planet. Sadly the only difference in each different path is the scenery which is kind of disappointing as a change of storyline or enemies would have been nice.
The games standout feature is definitely the graphics. For an Xbox Live Arcade game it ranks up there as one of the most graphically impressive games on the service. The detail on enemy ships and the floating asteroids is incredible, and the surrounding scenery and the lighting effects made by enemies ships being destroyed is to be hold. You can sometimes be taken aback by the whole thing just by looking at it, but like many games that look amazing there are a few niggles that hold it back.
For starters, the unthinkable… the game doesn’t save your progress throughout the campaign. Yes, it will save your rating out of 5 stars at the end of each level and what score you got but once you use up your 3 lives, no matter how far into the game you are, you start right back at level one. The same can be said about dying in the level; seeing as there are no checkpoints, even if you were one kill away from completing the level and that little sod got a cheeky shot off and manages to kill you, you start right back at the beginning. These two annoyances are almost sure to have you throwing your controller into your screen. Like many shooters out there things can get a little repetitive, and in Aces of the Galaxy things can get boring pretty fast. There isn’t enough variety in enemies or levels to justify going through the whole game in one sitting.
All in all Aces of the Galaxy is a decent Arcade game but, due to it being rather repetitive and the sheer brutality of having to start the game at the very beginning every time you die it can’t quite ascend the mountain to greatness. Online co-op is fun with a friend, but adds no real depth to the game. It looks good but not everything under hood is working as it should be. A buy when it drops in price.