Space Ace – iPhone

Wow. I have not even boraded my first flight today, and I am already able to review my first game. I havn’t decided yet if that is a good thing. As I mentioned in my last post I was planning on checking out some mobile iPhone games while on my trip. I had about a half hour to kill before my flight boarded so I fired up my first game the Don Bluth Animated adventure “Space Ace”. For readers who may be of a younger vintage then myself you may struggle to remember these arcade classics. The game play mechanics for this game (as well as its sister game “Dragon’s Lair”)consist of taking actions based upon cues given to you by the cartoon adventure taking place on the screen. Imagine it as a game of Simon Says. As the cartoon is playing in front of you at various time different parts of the background will flash. With the use of an on screen d-pad and action button you must press the correct direction to allow your character Dexter to continue his quest to save his annoying (but really hot) girlfriend and defeat the villian Borf. If you choose the right direction the cartoon progresses. Choose wrong and you are met with a usually entertaining death sequence.

Now I can imagine some folks out there saying that this doesn’t really sound like much of a game. In truth it really is not. I certainly enjoyed my quick play through, but that was more for nostalga’s sake then on the strength of the game play. “Space Ace” is certainly an artifact from an age of video games long past. Even just watching the attract mode movie should bring back many memories to anyone who like myself spent a lot of time in arcades during the late 80’s. If that sounds like you then you might find some enjoyment here for the price of the app. Anyone who played this game in the arcade will be glad to pay the one time fee for the app. The $4.99 I payed feels like a bargin compared to the number of quarters this game would have taken from you in the arcade. I can imagine you could spend twice that amount and not even come close to the end. I find it funny, that I find this to be both the game’s greatest strength and weakness. I say this, because while you certainly would be saving money versus playing the game this way and for those who have already invested a small fortune in this game during their youth, you will most likely enjoy finally being able to complete the game’s story. That being said. Finally being able complete the game will bring to light how actually short of a playing experience the game is. With good reflexes on Cadet mode you could probably complete the story all the way through in about 15 minutes. The realization that the actual content of this game is over so quick actually cheapens the experience if you were the sort of person who invested many hours and pocket change in the arcade version. It might make you wonder why you spent so much time back in the day towards something that was ultimately a less then satisfying pay off.

So far this review may be coming across as negative. I suppose that the game play experience does not really make for a compelling experience. However, there are places where this game does shine through. The strentgh of this game lies 100% in the wonderful animation created by Don Bluth. The animation is truly top notch. The game is worth playing just to see this beautiful animation. However, getting to see it all can be a chore on any difficulty other than Cadet. Apparently each difficulty level increases the amount of content that you play through. The problem is that only the Cadet level provides you with visual cues via the on screen keyboard as to what your next move should be. The other two difficulty levels do no. Provide these prompts forcing you to follow the glowing prompts in the in game annimations. Prompts that are often times very difficult to pick up on and respond to. Especially the prompts that indicate the need to use your laser pistol.

To sum things up, and bring this review to a close, if you fondly remember this game from the arcades it will provide you with a unique chance to finally play through and experience the game without emptying your pocket of quarters. However, outside of the nostalga factor there is little offered, as the game can be incredibly frustrating to play through. Especially to fully experience about 8 minutes of content that can be viewed via YouTube.

Final Grade: Space Ace – IPhone: C-
Poop or Puppy: Poop (outside of the nostalga factor)

Location:Knowlton Ave,Kenmore,United States