Snoopy Flying Ace

Game review by
Christopher Healy, Common Sense Media
Snoopy Flying Ace Game Poster Image
Aerial fighting with lots of shooting; not for little kids.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

It's adorable, grade-school age, Peanuts characters blowing each other up. That just doesn't feel like a good message.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Lucy always got very upset and freaked out about "dog germs" whenever Snoopy would lick her face -- but until now, we've never seen her come after him with wing-mounted gatling guns.

Ease of Play

The controls are easy, but the computer-controlled opponents can be pretty tough. Of course, the game is built around multiplayer battles, so its difficulty is then entirely determined by your opponents' skill.

Violence

The settings and the characters may be bright, cartoony Peanuts animation, but the artillery and ammunition (and the warfare) can seem frighteningly realistic at times. Bullets and missiles fly everywhere, leaving explosions, flames, and billows of black smoke in their wake. Realistic sounds of gunfire and explosions are constant. Each time a plane explodes its pilot is seen floating safely out of the battle with a parachute, so ostensibly no one dies. However, if you are shot down, a caption one the screen tells you "You were killed" and a "death count" is among your stats.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

While connected to the Peanuts cartoon franchise, the game does not overtly attempt to sell or promote the Peanuts brand.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that despite its cartoony trappings and the appearance of the lovable Peanuts characters, Snoopy Flying Ace is not a game designed for young kids. It is all about shooting down one another's airplanes and contains constant, loud, explosive, chaotic scenes of aerial warfare. The level of violence is such that it may be shocking to any child expecting a silly, cartoony Peanuts game. While there is a lengthy enough solo campaign, the game is also centered around online multiplayer battles, during which kids could be exposed to inappropriate chat comments from other players. Common Sense Media does not recommend online play for pre-teens.

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What's it about?

SNOOPY FLYING ACE is game that plays as an extension of the Peanuts beagle's long-running WWI aerial dogfighting fantasy. In the solo campaign you'll play as Snoopy, flying a biplane (or manning huge gun turrets) and shooting down the squadrons of the vicious Red Baron. Each mission will require you to either defend a base for a certain length of time, or to eliminate a certain number of enemy planes. With each completed mission you'll earn new planes and weapon upgrades. In multiplayer mode -- which is arguably the main feature -- up to 16 players can engage in one massive dogfight, earning points for every "kill" they make.

Is it any good?

The idea of Snoopy Flying Ace -- a violent, aerial shoot-em-up featuring Charlie Brown and friends -- might seem like an incredibly odd one, but it is executed fabulously. The visuals are absolutely stunning -- lush, smoothly rendered environments that are half realistic landscape, half cartoony Peanuts land (a desert battle, for instance, has you swooping around a Charlie-Brown-headed sphinx). The crash-boom-ping sound effects are also startlingly good (and we mean "startling" in more ways than one). You've also got smooth controls, and exciting, suspenseful action.

If not for the Peanuts tie-in, this probably would have been just a fantastic T-rated aerial warfare simulator. While the violence is toned down to a point at which it is certainly not T-rated, it is still far more than you'd ever expect from a Peanuts game.

Online interaction: Up to 16 players can engage in massive "deathmatch"-style aerial dogfights. The multiplayer action can be chaotic fun, but on Xbox Live, there's always the chance of hearing unedited chat comments from random players or players exchanging personal information.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the surprising level of violence in the game. Does the appearance of lovable characters make the violence more or less problematic? How could this game be changed to be just as fun, but less violent?

  • Are there ways to join in the fun of online matches and still protect yourself from offensive or inappropriate comments by other players? What can you do to make your online play safer?

Game details

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