Warplanes: WW1 Sky Aces
Follow Genre: Simulation, Arcade
Developer: Home Net Games
Publisher: 7Levels
Platform: Switch, PC, Android
Tested on: Switch

Warplanes: WW1 Sky Aces

Site Score
Good: Gameplay goes beyond what is expected for the genre
Bad: Graphics are dated
User Score
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Few events have had such an impact on the history of the last century as the two World Wars. Although WW1 was over a hundred years ago, people remain fascinated by those four years and the war has inspired countless books, films and video games. Warplanes: WW1 Sky Aces is yet another entry on the long-running list, and focuses on the exploits of the planes that brought warfare to our skies for the first time in history.


With a title like Warplanes: WW1 Sky Aces, it’s obvious that the game takes place during the first World War. Interestingly, when you start the campaign, you can choose to join either the Triple Entente or the Central Powers, meaning you’ll experience the war from both fronts. There is no real overarching story here, as the game tries to present a historically accurate narrative. Instead, the campaign plays as a series of loosely connected missions, that simulate real air fights from the Great War. The game features over 30 planes, from the agile Fokker Dr. I piloted by the famous Red Baron, all the way to massive bomber planes, so history buffs will find plenty to love here. 


While Warplanes’ visuals aren’t particularly impressive by today’s standards, one has to keep in mind that this is a budget game. The models used are dated, and the game’s environmental textures can get quite muddy at times. This is especially apparent when looking at screenshots of the game. That being said, things aren’t quite as bad when everything is in motion, as there is a good chance you’ll be sucked in by the action-packed gameplay. Nonetheless, the game also occasionally suffers from poor draw distances and pop-ins, although developer Home Net Games tried to mask this somewhat by making use of clouds and fog of war. On the plus side, the game does offer a very cleanly integrated screenshot mode that allows you to remove the entire UI and even pause the game so you can take screenshots easily. 


Warplanes features both a suitable musical soundtrack, that emphasizes the military theme of the game and a lot of voice acting, which we are always happy to hear. The actual in-game audio does feel a little compressed, especially when it comes to voice work. We’re not sure whether this is deliberate, in an attempt to mimic old radio broadcasts, but it does mean that some of the dialogue can be difficult to understand. As for the planes themselves, they sound as you’d expect, with roaring engines and the rhythmic firing of machine guns. 


It shouldn’t come as a total surprise that Warplanes is a flight simulation game with action-arcade elements, but the title goes beyond this with a variety of additional tactical elements. The core experience still sees you get in the cockpit of one of the many available planes as you engage in aerial dogfights. This style of gameplay, labeled here as Pilot Mode, is probably what most people would expect when booting up a game like Warplanes. However, the aptly named Squadron Leader Mode sees you take command of not just a single plane but an entire squad. Things get interesting here, as you’re tasked with resource management, training AI pilots and expanding your own airfield base. Features like this make the game feel far more engaging and given the budget price of the title, we were suitably impressed with what’s on offer here.

While flying your plane, you’ll find that controls take some getting used to at first, but once things click, you’re looking at a very smooth and satisfying control scheme. The left joystick is used to steer the plane itself, and works like a steering stick, whereas the right one controls acceleration. Aiming and firing is done by means of an automatic lock-on mechanic, using the shoulder triggers. Flight simulator aficionados might find Warplanes a bit light when it comes to control options but if you’re looking for fun gameplay rather than extreme accuracy, then Warplanes might scratch your itch.

Each plane also has slightly different stats, so there are plenty of subtle differences in controlling them, even if the general control scheme is the same for all of them. This becomes especially apparent when you’re taking control of a squadron, as you’re able to switch planes mid-mission, which adds yet another layer of tactical depth. To round things off, there is also a separate bomber mode, where your view changes to a top-down one. Here, you’ll need to carefully maneuver your plane in such a way that you can accurately drop a missile on enemy targets. The game also makes use of a cooldown mechanic when it comes to firing guns or accelerating your plane, preventing you from spamming enemies with a never-ending hail of bullets. This is indicated by a series of icons in the top right corner, with the corresponding one turning red as you near your limit.

While this isn’t quite explained in detail, referring to these icons quickly becomes second nature, further emphasizing just how accessible the title is. Rounding everything out is the management of your fleet. Here, you’ll spend resources earned during missions in order to modify and upgrade existing planes, purchase new ones and recruit additional crew members. While these features are relatively simplistic and don’t offer an overwhelming amount of additional content, you’ll still feel their impact when you’re returning to the sky. In this way, they shouldn’t be overlooked, even though it’s easy to do so. The overall simplicity of the controls is of course due to the game being designed to work as an Android title as well. This is also reflected in how short the actual missions are, making the title perfect for short pick-up-and-play sessions. Each mission has clear-cut objectives and you can easily check what you still need to do because the objective list is present in the top-left corner. 


All in all, there is a lot to like about Warplanes: WW1 Sky Aces. The game is a must-have title for fans of the genre, especially given the low price of entry. We were pleasantly surprised by the gameplay depth and smooth, user-friendly controls and although the graphics aren’t up there with triple-A releases, you’re still looking at a very decent visual experience once things are in motion. 

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: -1 (from 1 vote)
Warplanes: WW1 Sky Aces, 9.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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