We’ve had a ton of iOS games show up in our inbox lately! As your friendly neighborhood iPad aficionado, it’s my job to review them all and let you know what’s what. Today we’re going to talk about Ace Maverick, a new helicopter shooter from Futureworks Studios. You play as…well, a helicopter, and you fly around doing helicoptery things like hovering, strafing and blasting the crap out of targets.
As ever, when we talk about an iOS game the first thing we need to discuss are the controls. Ace Maverick does its best to offer a usable control scheme with a dual-virtual-stick setup. Your left hand controls your rotation and axis, while your right controls your speed and allows you to strafe. Your success with this is really going to depend on how well you can deal with virtual sticks. This one doesn’t have controller support, so it’s touchscreen or bust.
Me? I’m not a huge fan, but I can see that some effort was put into allowing players to steer their helicopters around without too much of a headache. The levels tend to have a lot of open space so you don’t have to worry about crashing – that’s a good thing, since crashing kills you right then and there! In a feature that was new to me, your helicopter will fire automatically upon placing your reticule over an appropriate target. This is much appreciated, since forcing you to tap buttons to shoot would do a lot to throw off your aim.
You’ll fly your chopper from stage to stage, performing bite-sized missions and earning achievements as you go. Missions typically involve flying about and shooting the crap out of something (or a bunch of somethings, like glaciers in the way of a ship) while achievements tend to be a little more interesting, like buzzing a ship’s cockpit to startle the captain. You eventually end up fighting targets that fight back as well, like pirates, so you’ll want to have a handle on the controls by then.
Admittedly, I never found this one especially difficult to handle, which I assume is a concession to the control medium being less than ideal for a game like this. I also appreciated the relative brevity of the missions, allowing me to put the device down and take a break whenever.
The graphics are impressive by iOS standards, on par with something like Implosion: Never Lose Hope. I imagine this means you’ll need some decent iOS-based hardware to run it, but aside from a bit of choppiness early on my iPad Air 1 didn’t have any issues. Flying about is enjoyable once you’ve gotten the hang of how to do so, and there are some nice explosion effects as well. Meanwhile, the sound is standard and not memorable, and there’s a bit of (iffy) voice acting thrown in as well.
Ace Maverick is a solid helicopter shooter that nails the fundamentals, even if it’s not going to shake up the industry. There isn’t a huge number of missions, so you’ll probably finish them all relatively quickly, but for the price it’s not bad. Honestly, my favorite aspect of the game is something that might not matter to other players: there aren’t any in-game advertisements, nor any in-app purchases. When you’ve paid your $5, the game is yours. There’s no more money-grubbing or ads in your face. It’s a nice touch that I can really support.
With that said, I’ll recommend Ace Maverick to helicopter and shooter fans who have the hardware necessary to run the game. What’s more, the developer says there are free updates coming in the future, so if you end up falling for it there’s more hot helicopter action to come.