This is Ace Patrol, the WWI dogfighting game 2K won't let you play yet01 May 2013 0
Video game publishing zaibatsu 2K have actively encouraged buzz around the Firaxis-produced freemium game Haunted Hollow, but they've been entirely mum about another iOS title being developed in parallel: WWI dogfighting game Ace Patrol. 2K have been more than happy to banter about Haunted Hollow over the last couple of weeks but they clam up when asked about the Great War fighter squadron game.
Ace Patrol and Haunted Hollow indicate a strategic shift on the part of 2K. After the premium-priced Borderlands Legends (deservedly) flopped, 2K seems to have realized that shovelware won't cut it on the highly competitive App Store. Admirably, these new games seem to be trying to earn your freemium dollars through quality, not shenanigans, and premium pricing is now reserved for top-shelf efforts like the forthcoming iOS XCOM.
Ace Patrol was soft-launched in Canada alongside Haunted Hollow for testing a couple of months ago, and Canadian PT readers have been raving about the game ever since. More screenshots and details after the jump.
Ace Patrol is a squadron management game and turn-based dogfighting sim with one foot in the historically-accurate grognard camp (lots of authentic aircraft and missions that mirror real campaigns from the Great War) and the other foot wangling about Gangnam-style trying to get your attention (decidedly a-historical aircraft liveries and female pilots). Gameplay is turn-based dogfighting in the tradition of Achtung! Spitfire, with some light RPG elements as each of your pilots learns new maneuvers and tactics as they gain experience.
Besides the always-welcome turn-based gameplay and the employment of an under-used theme, what's encouraging to me about Ace Patrol is how 2K is (at least in their test release) trying to monetize the game. There's no reliance on Real Racing-style timers here -- instead, they're just selling you content in the form of mission packs, not unlike Slitherine's expansions for Battle Academy. Our tipsters report that there are some consumable in-app purchases available, but they seem to be entirely optional. There's four campaigns in the game: one each for Britain, Germany, France, and the US. Britain's campaign comes free and the rest are locked behind IAPs. This model is just sensible, and hopefully 2K resist the temptation to wedge more consumables into Ace Patrol before it releases globally.
Ace Patrol's stablemate Haunted Hollow is due out tonight. I'd be surprised if Ace Patrol materialized given 2K's reticence, but we'll keep our eyes peeled for it.
Hat-tip to Bullwinkle.