Aces of the Galaxy

  • Online Co-Op: 2 Players
  • Couch Co-Op: 2 Players
  • + Co-Op Campaign
Aces of the Galaxy Co-Op Review
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Aces of the Galaxy Co-Op Review

It's always a great feeling when a game comes out of nowhere and surprises you.  I don't recall ever seeing anything about Aces of the Galaxy from Sierra before it was released on Xbox Live Arcade a few weeks ago, which is a shame because this game truly deserves some attention.  In a style that's akin to the classic Starfox games on the Nintendo Consoles, but with a pacing that's closer to a hectic Space Invaders, and graphics that look like such popular space titles like Eve Online and Homeworld on PC.  What you get is Aces of the Galaxy, a fresh and frantic arcade title.

The game is basically an on rails shooter with a few twists.  There are various powerups scattered throughout the levels, these are obtained by shooting down specific pairs of glowing bad guys to open up that rail.  Each one of your weapons (cannon, lock on missiles, and torpedoes) can be upgraded via powerup. There's also sections where you need to avoid asteroids and debris, these are particularly annoying, but few and far between.  By obtaining a special warp powerup in a level players can jump between 1 of 3 different level types, each with their own theme and goal.  Each level path contains 9 levels for a total of 27.  One other additional feature which adds replayability is level rating, which is 1 to 5 stars.  5 starring every level in the game unlocks 2 separate achievements.

Of course, we wouldn't be talking about Aces if it wasn't for the co-op aspect, and in that it excels with 2 player co-op play both locally and over Xbox Live.    To start each player chooses one of 4 ship types to control.  There's really no difference between ships, but it's a nice touch to allow players to easily differentiate between each other.  As you move through the levels it's easy to see how team work plays a huge part in the game.  For one, the games scoring system is based on a multiplier utility, the more enemies you kill in quick succession the higher your multiplier; the team work comes in with the fact your multipliers is actually shared by both players.  So by alternating on incoming waves of enemies on opposite sides of the screen you can quickly increase your score.  Another aspect of co-op play is a shared life pool,  you'll need to work to keep each other alive or you'll be reading the Game Over screen far too often.

We were pleasantly surprised with Aces of the Galaxy.  It contains gorgeous graphics, frantic pick up and play gameplay and excellent co-op play that requires team work and communication.  Sure the story isn't the best (frankly, we just skipped the intermissions text), but for a $10 arcade title that really didn't matter to us.  There's a few other great things I'd like to point out.  First,  Aces contains some truly great music throughout the whole game.  The pause screen is possibly one of the most beautiful pause screens I've seen in a game in quite some time, exemplified by this music.   The ending credits are also some of the best credits to come along in a game in quite some time - I don't want to ruin anything for anyone but you'll have a bit of fun with them for sure.

So in an Xbox Live Arcade crowded with arcade style shooter games, Aces of the Galaxy manages to stand out on it's own.


Co-Op Score

The Co-Op Experience: Team up through the single player game. Each player controls a ship.3-2-1 blast off! Launch yourself into the intense space-shooter Aces of the Galaxy, a non-stop, old-school arcade thrill-ride for the twenty-first century and beyond. Utilize an impressive arsenal of upgradeable weapons including high powered missile launchers, devastating torpedoes, and the ever-reliant chain gun to annihilate the ships of the wretched Skurgian Empire. Save planet Earth cooperatively at home with a friend or join up on Xbox LIVE. [XBOX.COM]

Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.