Charlie Brown’s favourite four legged friend is finally getting to live his dream of taking down the Red Baron in this new aerial combat game from Smart Bomb Interactive.
I know what you’re thinking right off the bat. There’s no way that a game featuring Snoopy is going to be anything more than a cheap use of a time-honored franchise. Well, that’s what I thought too, and boy was I wrong. Its easy to make assumptions like this because Peanuts games haven’t really done very well in the past. In fact, 'Smart Bomb Interactive' already produced an aerial combat game for the PS2 called 'Snoopy vs. the Red Baron.' Unfortunately, it didn’t really take off (pardon the pun).
When Pigs Dogs Fly....
'Snoopy Flying Ace' once again sees Snoopy fulfilling his fantasy of being a WWI pilot going up against the Red Baron. Some of the other Peanuts characters have decided to be part of the fight as well. Charlie Brown’s taken up the call to arms with the Brits, and good ol’ Lucy decided to side with the Germans (how fitting!). As weird as this concept is, its works really well, and it's so simple there’s not really much of a story to tell.
The game controls really well, with the left analog stick controlling your movement and the right analog stick allowing you to pull off various aerial tricks to evade enemy fire or turn around quickly. It's very similar to 'Crimson Skies,' which I would rank as my favourite aerial combat game ever were it not for the release of this game. Although the plane design sticks with the WWI formula, the weapons most definitely do not (unless I’m mistaken and homing rockets were all the rage in 1914). You’ll fire everything from dual mounted shotguns to slimy leeches that follow your target and stick to his/her plane only to explode a few seconds later. There are two weapon slots to switch between and you can change the weapons in those slots after each time you die, just in case you feel the need to try out a new strategy.
Campaign Down without a pee break
This may constitute as “too much information”, but I have a fairly small bladder. Its very rare that I can sit through an entire game’s campaign without taking a visit to the nearest restroom. This was not the case with this game, as I was able to get through the campaign in around 2 hours. There aren’t really any cut scenes in the game and there isn’t even any voiceover, so you just keep jumping from level to level without anything to distract you.
The single player experience is pretty fun. There are a variety of missions that will have you doing things like protecting a zeppelin, manning a gun turret, engaging in massive dog fights, and playing follow the leader. By the end of it, I wasn’t really left wanting more, because I think 2 hours was getting close to my boredom threshold for the single player experience. Its fun, you can play it with a friend, and its even challenging at times, but please don’t purchase this game if you only want to play the campaign. Its just not worth it. In fact, don’t even bother with the single player campaign, other than to familiarize yourself with the controls, because the multiplayer in this game is stellar.
I didn’t know Chewbacca was in Peanuts!
The bread and butter of this game is the multiplayer, and its freaking tasty! You can choose to play as one of your favourite Peanuts characters, or use your avatar, complete with any costumes you have on. It really makes me wish I purchased the Rebel Pilot outfit instead of the Han Solo Hoth attire. If you see a guy online kicking your ass in a parka, it might be me! The bottom line is that its fun to see your avatar flying around and taking names while you gun down other people.
The controls work perfectly in multiplayer and the creative weaponry and the different types of planes available make for a really deep experience. It took me quite a few matches to find the right combination of plane and weapons to fit my play style. The light-hearted nature of the game is also a nice departure from the violent playgrounds we find ourselves in during most our time online. The fact that this game is family friendly just makes me appreciate all the more.
You’ll of course find your standard deathmatch modes here, although they are referred to as Dogfights. Honestly, this is where I’ve been spending most of my time. Its pure chaos, but it’s also a blast. Having to avoid enemy fire while homing in on your target makes for compelling gameplay that can’t be found anywhere else. Following the standard set by many online games before it, Snoopy Flying Ace rewards you for scoring multiple kills in a row. Get four kills in a row and Woodstock will appear on the back of your plane to help you take down your foes. Score nine kills in a row and your plane will turn into Snoopy’s dog house, which features the most powerful machine gun in the game. If you see a big red square flying in your vicinity, watch out! There are some other game modes as well like Capture the Flag, or Pigskin (a interesting aerial football game), but you probably won’t stray from dog-fighting very often.
If you have even the tiniest affinity for aerial combat games turn on your 360, head over to the marketplace and get this game now. I can honestly say that its the most fun I’ve ever had playing a game in this genre. Although the single player is short and fairly empty, the multiplayer is frantic and fun. To those of you that may have scoffed at flying games in the past, I urge you to give this one a try. I have a feeling you will become an aerial combat convert.
Final Score: 9.5
Reviewed by Mike Baggley | 06.21.10
- Simple but at the same time precise and fun control scheme
- Co-op for single player campaign
- You can play as your avatar!
- Fantastic multiplayer - in my opinion the best aerial combat game ever from an online perspective
- Graphics won’t blow your mind, but they add to the experience
- Its great to see the Peanuts crew in an actually enjoyable game
- Single player is slightly underwhelming