Sid Meier's Ace Patrol

App review by
Chris Morris, Common Sense Media
Sid Meier's Ace Patrol App Poster Image
Great strategy game from master of the genre; war theme.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about historic events of World War II as well as how to plan ahead. Although Sid Meier's Ace Patrol isn't as historically based as his other games, it's still very authentic to the time frame, specifically with the planes used in the game. Sid Meier's Ace Patrol focuses on strategically using resources to advance, forcing players to always think a bit ahead of their enemies. 

Ease of Play

Although there are several assists for players, it's critical to strategically plan ahead, both in in-game moves and when picking upgrades for your pilots. This can be a bit difficult for younger players. 

Violence

The game is focused on World War I dogfights, so planes are regularly shot down, and players attempt to destroy enemy aircraft. There are machine-gun sounds and explosions, but the game is much more focused on strategy than on dynamic graphics or effects. 

Sex
Language
Consumerism

Players get a taste of the game with a few missions, but, to really unlock the full version or play a campaign as a different nation, you'll have to pay to unlock them, for prices ranging from $1 to $5.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

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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. 

Talk to your kids 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.

App details

For kids who love strategy and board games

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