Sid Meier's Ace Patrol
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sid Meier's Ace Patrol is a strategy game from one of the masters of the genre. (Sid Meier also is responsible for the Civilization franchise.) In his first app, the focus is squarely on strategy -- and, although there are violent components to the game (it's rated 17 and up in iTunes), the concern for many parents will be the push for in-app purchases. The game offers a brief taste that's likely to hook players and then makes them pay to continue. Although the multiplayer lets you play strangers, there's no interaction beyond gameplay. Players also can share high scores via the Game Center social network, but participation is optional.
What kids can learn
Thinking & Reasoning
- thinking critically
Engagement, Approach, Support
Sid Meier's Ace Patrol is not only a fun game to play, it also hooks players into trying to think ahead, making them eager to see the results of their assumptions.
The game requires players to carefully strategize about where to position resources and which skills to give pilots as they're upgraded. This causes players to continually plan, whether they're in a dogfight or between rounds.
Players new to strategy won't be overwhelmed thanks to the clever use of glowing arrows, suggesting best moves, while veterans won't feel the genre has been dumbed down.
What's it about?
Players control pilots in series of air-combat missions, attempting to shoot down enemy planes. Moves are turn-based, giving players time to think. Available moves are shown as a series of arrows and determined by a number of factors, including altitude, the G-forces a pilot is experiencing, the type and condition of the plane, and the maneuvers in which the pilot is trained. Clouds conceal aircraft, adding the element of surprise, and players must avoid fighting above enemy territory or risk adding antiaircraft guns to the battle.
Is it any good?
Sid Meier did more than put his name on SID MEIER'S ACE PATROL; he programmed it himself -- and his legendary attention to detail shines through, making this perhaps one of the best strategy game on any mobile device. Players must manage resources, train pilots, and make careful decisions as they battle enemy pilots.
The battles, though turn-based, are still thrilling, and the decision to add a replay mode (letting you watch them in real time after the campaign) was a wise one. The game's multiplayer mode is well done, but turn-based games tend to move a bit slow in multiplayer modes. (Kudos are due, though, on the ensuring of multiplayer matches against strangers being relatively safe. There's no discussion, only gameplay.) Overall there's very little for strategy fans to complain about here, and people new to the genre will quickly see why it's so addictive.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the importance of strategy and thinking ahead. Encourage kids to play other strategy games, such as chess.
If possible, visit a museum and see the real planes of World War I.
Check out WWI websites or online lectures from WWI pilots, so kids can learn more about the science of dogfights.