Legendary game designer Sid Meier's does not need any introduction to old video gamers like me who grew up playing Pirates, Railroad Tycoon and Civilization. His latest idea of fun? Turn-based dog-fighting with little colorful planes that players can custom paint. Choose among 16 planes and fly some 200 missions through the Pacific skies.
Playability: Gliding through sunny skies
Piloting planes doesn't get any easier than this. Roll, loop, dive, climb and a host of complex maneuvers are executed by your squadron of eager beavers at the mere flick of a mouse. It's all very intuitive and you don't need to read any lengthy manual. After a few minutes, you'll learn to position your plane for the "ratatata" that sends your foes packing (and coming back for more in the next mission).
Annoyance: Apple pie
On rookie mode, the game is super easy and very gratifying for old shaky hands. On harder levels, it's still occasionally possible to pull a successful mission as your enemies are ace pilots from the early missions when your pilots are freshly out of training schools. Competitive players can compare scores online and parade on social networks.
Beauty: Pretty smiles
The pretty smiling faces of friends and foes alike make Sid Meier's Ace Patrol: Pacific Skies a lighthearted romp through the skies. Your pilots cry when they get wounded or parachute behind enemy lines, and smile again when they get discharged from hospital or promoted. The boogie-woogie soundtrack is contagiously optimistic, and makes you forget a pretty dark page of humankind's history (you'll learn a few things along the way through the historic campaign missions).
The Old Video Gamer's Prattle: Quick fun - 70/100 points
Sid Meier's Ace Patrol: Pacific Skies doesn't take itself seriously at all, except when it comes to serious fun. It's casual alright, but it's an entertaining game that fits perfectly between two spreadsheets and a slideshow presentation due the next hour.
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