Set in the First World War with a colourful cel shaded aesthetic, Red Wings: Aces of the Sky sees you pick either side of the conflict and a choice of model of aeroplane and after a short cutscene of hand drawn stills with a voiceover you get straight into shooting down enemy airplanes.
The handling and flight model is very straightforward; with the left stick directing your aircraft’s pitch and yaw without any rolling and ascending or descending affecting your airspeed at all. This simplified approach also extends to the combat, where there is no need to lead the target to hit them – you just point straight at them and shoot, with the game giving you a moderate amount of assistance to keep you locked on.
With the game running very smoothly on the PS5, there are some nice moments to be had when you lock on to an enemy and gun them down. After a few minutes though the lack of complexity makes it all a bit too easy and unrewarding to play for any longer. The game tries to address this by giving you upgrade choices and new aeroplanes as you progress, but all that does is moderately offset the increasing difficulty as you progress through the missions, with none of them really feeling like a proper upgrade. Occasionally a mission will get you to do some bombing or flying through rings, but really these are just something to be endured to get back to the dogfighting missions.
It always disappoints me that there aren’t more games out there dedicated to dogfighting, so Red Wings: Aces of the Sky was a pleasant surprise to discover. Ultimately though the lack of variety or depth to the gameplay left me underwhelmed, even though there are some fun moments to be had.
Special thanks to PressEngine for the review code.