Of course 2K would give Ace Patrol – Sid Meier’s new mobile game – away for free. They may as well drape a Ziploc bag over the icon on your home screen. They want you hooked and it’s not long before your recollection of WWI moves beyond bi-planes and stark black and white photos to how fast you can tap in your password to get some extra aerial campaigns.
War has broken out across the European continent and you’re in charge of guiding a squadron into action. Over the course of each campaign, you’ll upgrade your pilots’ skills, give them tighter maneuvers and better their weaponry. Your missions will vary from quick single-plane recons to full on zeppelin-crashing parties.
Ace Patrol is incredibly simple to pick up; of course it is. Your planes are deployed on a hex grid and 3D icons indicate which maneuvers you can take, creating dogfights turn by turn. You’ll spend your pregame lining your planes up for strikes, then looping them around for subsequent rounds. Float over enemy territory and anti-air cannons will be sure to give you flak. Dive into a cloud to temporarily hide a plane. You’ll be thankful for those extra maneuvers as pilots take your primordial airplanes into sharper banks and loops.
At the introductory price of free, $.99 for “ace” pilots and a few bucks more for additional campaigns, the pricing seems fair, but I can’t help but wonder how their little experiment will work. This is Meier’s first mobile game and while I’d definitely like to see him produce more, I might like the option of acquiring everything up front for a premium instead of being baited in by a free campaign. You don’t need to be a WWI-enthusiast to fall in love with Ace Patrol.