In the future, humanity uses AI driven machines to wage war, but this backfires when the machines turn on their masters. To combat this threat, your elite pilot takes to the sky in an old jet to retaliate. The machines are dominating the land, sea and air so your battle will not be easy.
At first I thought that Revolution Ace didn’t even bother with a story as the explanation for why you are piloting an old jet against futuristic foes is only revealed a few levels into the game. It doesn’t matter though, as no excuse is needed to engage in some old school, horizontal shooting action. Despite the Unreal Engine powered visuals, Revolution Ace looks like it was ripped straight out of a nineties arcade machine. It is clear that time has been spent on making the ground look interesting with effects like trees swaying in the wind and mountains that rise up into the screen but the overall effect is a bit underwhelming. It could just be my personal preferences, but the realistic style visuals just look a tad too drab for an over the top style game like Revolution Ace.
I can’t fault the diversity though, as the game takes you across jungles, mountains and oceans, with some levels shrouded in mist or covered in snow. There are definitely moments where the game does look good and there is certainly no lack of enemies to shoot at, but there is nothing that really sets the visuals apart from the pack.
Revolution Ace is a pretty straightforward shooter, but there are a couple of unique things that make it worth a second look. Firstly, enemies attack from both the air and ground and you use two separate fire buttons to engage them. Weaving through bullets while shooting on the correct plane can be tricky at first, but it soon becomes second nature. Completing levels reward you with experience points and shrapnel. Experience points are tallied up to increase the level of your jet, which leads to rewards such as more weapon slots, new weapons and a perk of your choice. The perks range from better armor to faster bullets or strong laser and there are not enough levels to choose all of them so you have to pick carefully. The shrapnel is your currency and is used to purchase the machine guns, missiles and beam cannons as well as shields and special attacks that make your craft so formidable. There are more than 20 weapons to choose from and the placement on your jet matters which makes it fun to mix and match to see what the results are.
The campaign mode felt a bit longer than what you usually find in the genre and upon completion you can start a tougher, New+ playthrough. There are also three difficulty settings to give everyone a fair chance at beating the game. Enemies attack in droves and on Normal or higher, the ones that you miss comes back for another go, but the fact that you have a shield and armor meter makes things considerably easier. Shooters with one hit kills can be frustrating, so Revolution Ace is a nice introduction to the genre that won’t scare away newcomers.
If you tire of the campaign mode or feel like you need some extra experience and shrapnel you can try out the Skirmish mode. In Skirmish you get to pick a level from any of the ones that you have already unlocked to practice or farm experience and shrapnel. Much more fun is the Versus mode where you play side by side with another player and can mess up their game by sending enemies to their side of the screen. The Battle Chains mode works the same as Versus but instead of playing against someone in real-time you challenge their recordings. If you complete the challenge you can send it back to the original player who then have to contend with all the added mayhem that you caused during your playthrough. The challenge ramps up quickly and this mode can become quite addictive, but finding other players is not that easy at the moment.
I had a lot of fun with Revolution Ace but this may be due to me playing shooters since the early days of the arcades. Newer players might be less forgiving about the bland visuals and rather generic audio. The controls however, are responsive and the game certainly packs a challenge, but apart from the versus modes it doesn’t really stand out from the pack. I really liked the concept so hopefully LGG can create a sequel, which really ramps up the production values.
*Review originally published April 2014.
- OS: Windows XP SP2 or greater
- Processor: 2.0+ GHZ Dual Core Processor
- Memory: 1 GB RAM
- Graphics: 256 MB Video Card
- Hard Drive: 2 GB available space
- Sound Card: Windows Supported Sound Card
Graphics: Video Card with Shader Model 3 support