Sid Meier's Ace Patrol, the latest turn-based dogfighting game from the legendary Civilization creator, has launched today on Steam for Ł5.99 / $9.99.
Ace Patrol first launched to critical acclaim on iOS in May, but publisher 2K games is billing this as the "premium version" of the free-to-play mobile title.
"At Firaxis, one of our biggest objectives is to deliver great games to our fans on platforms they're enjoying," said Ace Patrol director, Sid Meier. "Since the launch of Ace Patrol on iOS, the team has been thrilled by the glowing praise we've received, and we're very excited to now provide the same strategic experience to fans on PCs."
In World War 1, when a flying ace had an enemy on their tail, it was perfectly acceptable practice for them to pull off a manoeuvre known as the falling leaf. They'd shut off the engine, tumble from the sky, and then restart everything when they were safely out of range of enemy gunfire. Voila! Such a crazed, desperate piece of thinking serves as a vivid reminder of why this tiny, lurid slice of aviation history was both so deadly and so fascinating. In the hands of an experienced designer, it's also an indicator of how rich the period is as the foundation for a turn-based strategy game.
And so, fairly early on in Sid Meier's Ace Patrol, you'll be able to unlock the falling leaf, a risk/reward evasion move that allows you to rapidly lose height, but will also randomise the direction it leaves you facing in. It turns out to be a brilliant addition to a game in which positioning is everything, and where a small selection of units can create battles of real tension and unpredictability.
It really is Sid Meier's Ace Patrol, too. The legendary Civilization creator's led a small team on the project at Firaxis, and he's been handling everything from basic game design through to coding. "I love designing games, but I also enjoy the programming part," he tells me when we sit down with the game in a conference room. "On these smaller projects I get to do a bigger portion of that - the game rules, the AI and stuff. It's fun for me, and it also means that a lot more of what I create ends up in the final game rather than going through various iterations and things like that. We had three engineers on the project - I was one of them and we had two other engineers. A nice tight compact team, and we had a lot of fun making it."
Sid Meier, famed creator of the Civilisation series, has a new turn-based strategy game coming out.
Ace Patrol is due out on iOS devices as a free download on Thursday, 9th May 2013.
The game is set in World War 1 era Europe. You battle in strategic air-combat scenarios, piloting the skies in defence of your base camp and allies.