Rewind Review: Snoopy Flying Ace (XBLA)
Snoopy Flying Ace is an aerial combat game that focuses mainly on the online multiplayer aspects. A short single player campaign is included but this game truly shines in its many multiplayer modes. You take flight as either your Xbox Live avatar or one of the Peanuts characters with one basic goal; shoot down anyone around you. With 16-player online games, the pace of each game is hectic from start to finish. Turrets, power-ups, and environmental hazards add even more chaos to each game making Snoopy Flying Ace one of the most action packed games available today on XBLA.
Here’s what we liked:
Precise controls – In order to create an aerial combat game with lasting power, the controls have to be spot-on and luckily that’s the case with Snoopy Flying Ace. The ability to turn off inverted controls was a huge addition as it allows gamers unfamiliar with shooters to jump right in. Evasive maneuvers and speed alterations make escaping enemy fire an art that is well worth your time to learn.
Wide variety of modes – There are six modes included in the original download. For an additional 400MS points, five more modes are available along with two extra planes, but those modes are rarely played and not worth your money. However the six modes included are the better of all the modes. Dog Fight, Team Dog Fight, Capture the Flag, Dog Pile, Team Dog Pile and Pigskin are more than enough to keep the average player busy.
The Dog Fight modes are your basic deathmatch modes and Dog Pile will have you playing keep away with a dog bone. CTF is self-explanatory and Pigskin is a very unique blend of aerial combat and American football. It sounds like an odd combination but it actually plays quite well and it’s one of the more popular modes among the Snoopy Flying Ace community. If online multiplayer isn’t your cup of tea, a local multiplayer mode is available with the ability to add bots at varying difficulty levels.
Online community – It’s very surprising for an XBLA title to have an online community more than a few weeks after the release. But more than a year later, many gamers still play Snoopy Flying Ace everyday. Finding a game at any time of the day is not difficult and constant sales seem to revitalize the community every few months. The only issue you might find with the online community is the fact that there are usually one or two players clearly outclassing the rest of the players. This may be frustrating when those players are the opposition, but the matchmaking system will usually correct this issue after one lopsided game.
Great amount of maps – There are eight multiplayer maps included in Snoopy Flying Ace. For only 80MS points, you can even download two additional maps that are well worth the money. The maps are all very unique and different making each game reward different strategic approaches. Along with the varying game modes, this makes each multiplayer experience unique and you’ll always find yourself learning new tricks and tactics based on what other players around you are doing.
Here’s what we didn’t like:
Underwhelming single player campaign – If you are looking for a great single player experience with Snoopy Flying Ace, you may want to look somewhere else. Although 18 missions are included, many of them only take a minute or two to complete. Online co-op is available for those wanting to experience a campaign with a friend, but the focus of Snoopy Flying Ace is the online multiplayer and it clearly shows.
Cheap weapons – Snoopy Flying Ace does a lot to hold the hands of less-skilled players. This would be a good thing if it weren’t for the fact that new players tend to fall in love with lock-on weapons. This creates a huge skill gap between gamers. You are either one of the great players who learned how to manually aim or you are one of the bad players who never switched from the default “leech” weapon. The amount of middle of the line players is few and far between. Lock-on weapons tend to only create annoyances for the better players while they further distance the less-skilled players from any chance of ever getting better at the game.
No host migration – It is extremely annoying having a great game disrupted by a message stating that “The host has left the game.” With a game that allows 16-player multiplayer and such a discrepancy between the good and bad players, it seems obvious that for whatever reason, players would be quitting out. Host migration really should have been included and it is by far the most annoying problem with the game.
Although Snoopy Flying Ace is a great game, it’s a tough game to recommend for a mass audience. If you can download the trail and enjoy your experience in the included free 60 minutes of online multiplayer, then buy this game. But if you feel that you wanted more of a single player experience, then you may want to avoid Snoopy Flying Ace as it is all about the multiplayer experience. If you do buy the full version, be sure not to fall in love with the easier to use weapons, as they will only lead to a frustrating experience as you jump into the online competition. Beloved child’s franchise aside, this game really is meant for competitive gamers.
Score: Try It