There’s been a lot of—surprisingly positive—buzz about Snoopy Flying Ace. The sequel to 2006’s Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron is being touted as a stripped down Crimson Skies packed with fun multiplayer modes and charming Peanuts characters and references. For those who enjoy flying games and can appreciate the Peanuts theme, Snoopy Flying Ace is worth the ten bucks, if only for the broad range of multiplayer modes to be tried out. For people like me with no appreciation for flying games and no familiarity for the Peanuts comic strip (I thought they were the “Charlie Brown” cartoons), all the variations of multiplayer only serve to remind me in a multitude of ways that I really don’t like flying games, and I don’t see how a dog in the cockpit makes it better.
At least I got to play as my avatar in multiplayer mode. Actually, once in multiplayer you have the entire Peanuts cast to choose from as your pilot, as well as the Red Baron and your own avatar. Other things fans will appreciate about multiplayer are the variety of ways you can control what kind of game you play. There are several modes which include what is essentially free-for-all, capture the flag, team against team, king of the hill and a couple other variations. You can play with other people or add “bots”—computer players that play for your team or the Red Baron’s.
Besides traditional guns and trajectory missiles, weapons range from an electromagnetic force field that zaps those within a certain radius, to flaming flails—these are the aircraft equivalent of melee weapons: you have to fly right into other fighters with them, but most will die upon impact.
I thought the game could have used more maps, or made the maps they did have bigger. I did enjoy the look of them, especially City of Lights (Paris at night) and the one with the dam. However it is very hard to tell when you are at the boundary of the map, and sometimes it just felt like I was flying in one direction for a second, flipping over when I hit the boundary, and flying in the other direction for a second—and hitting another boundary.
Powerups are scattered throughout the environments, giving boosts to your speed, health, and turning you invisible. It’s useful to pickup some health or the invisibility cloak right before going after someone in a turret. You have to be careful when you pick up a speed boost, because if you’re remotely near anything (which you almost always are in the claustrophobically small maps), you will immediately crash into it and kill yourself as soon as you pick up the boost. Admittedly, this probably kept happening to me because I am just bad at flying games.
Apparently, the controls are intuitive and easy to use for everyone except me. It must have taken me two hours to get myself to stop trying to use the right stick to change my camera angle, or tapping on various bumpers and triggers to try to zoom in on my target. There is no zooming in on targets unless you’re at a gun turret which, big surprise, was what I immediately aimed for most of the time. Still, I did feel the need to stay in the skies so as to give the game, and flying games a fair shot.
I can safely say that after completing the single player mode, that I wish I had those hours of my life back. Single player mode is repetitive, tedious, and as redundant as this sentence.
Did Snoopy Flying Ace change my mind about flying games? Well, not enough for me to ever play this game on my own for enjoyment, but if my friends wanted to do some multiplayer, I wouldn’t say no. The most enjoyable part of the game for me was the music.