While Air Conflicts can’t quite keep up with the far superior Ace Combat series, it’s a decent alternative, especially if you live and breathe old-school aerial battle games. And now a compilation has come to Nintendo Switch with two games, Secret Wars and Pacific Carriers, in tow. And while it’s hardly anything that will change the genre as we know it, it does deliver hours of high-flying fun for those with lowered expectations…
Both games take place during different eras. Secret Wars takes place over the course of both World War I and II, while Pacific Carriers focuses solely on World War II, with a battle from Pearl Harbor that stands out. And in that game, you can also decide which country you’re fighting for, a nice touch if you prefer someone outside of the U.S. of A.
Over the course of each game, you’ll come across missions where you blast enemies out of the sky, or engage in bombing the heck out of targets on the ground. Kalypso certainly knows its authenticity in this regard, though the controls are a bit simpler than what you’d find in a game of this type. But then again, that might be what they were going for, hoping Air Conflicts would find an audience in the casual department.
As you go over missions, you’ll be able to select payloads and run through objectives however you see fit, while getting bits and pieces of the story. It’s hardly as compelling as, say, Ace Combat 7, but it’s not too shabby. I just wish the visual quality went beyond a graphic novel. But, then again, these guys don’t exactly have Bandai Namco’s mega-budget.
The general gameplay is pretty cool, though there is some mild frustration with the stealth missions, which force you to be as quiet as possible taking down certain targets. The games fare much better when it comes to straight-up shooting opponents. Between the two, Pacific Carriers is definitely the best way to go when it comes to these missions.
As for visuals, Secret Wars is probably the murkiest of the two, as the level design isn’t nearly as inspired as Pacific. However, by contrast, the other game actually looks pretty good, with solid rendering of the planes and levels. You’ll likely something to like between the games, but there could’ve been a little more done with the ports. A faster frame rate, perhaps. The audio is okay, with voice acting that won’t grate on your nerves, but doesn’t stand out too much either. The authentic music is okay, too– but not nearly as long-lasting as you might think.
In the end, Air Conflicts Collection isn’t a bad compilation of games. It’s not exactly solid gold either, mainly due to the lowered visual quality and mixture of missions going all over the place. But when the games go for straight shooting and making things exciting in certain scenarios, it does hit the target. If you’ve played all the other superior air sims for the Nintendo Switch already, it wouldn’t hurt to give this one a go. Otherwise, shop around for some of the cheaper aerial action games that are currently on the eShop. 3/5 Bibles.