Ace Combat: Northern Wings

Shooting games need to grab you within the first few minutes. As soon as the bullets start flying and the scenery starts exploding, you need to feel like you're the star of your own destructive show.

Ace Combat: Northern Wings might lack the glittering visuals of its console brethren, but its mix of dogfights and bombing runs makes for an impressive arcade-style blaster that fits neatly in your pocket.

Battle speed

The game is a top-down, retro-tinged shoot-'em-up that sees you taking control of a number of different planes, and flying dangerous, exciting sorties all around the world. You control your plane with the '2', '4', '6', and '8' keys, and fire your rockets with '5'.

Your bullets are fired automatically whenever a threat appears on screen, leaving you to concentrate on weaving through enemy fire and unleashing your plane's more powerful attacks.

Pressing '7' calls up your wingmen, who'll blast everything on screen with a variety of destructive weapons, before slipping back out of sight to recharge and reload.

There are two distinct styles of play: air battles and ground assaults. Ground assaults need you to take out tanks and gun emplacements, while air battles are all about duking it out with other fighters and helicopters.

Rocket roll

There's a great variety of planes to unlock, and the backdrops and scenery you'll fight over all look pretty impressive. Giant bosses and refuelling ships punctuate the levels and keep things feeling fresh.

The controls are sometimes a little clunky, but the pace of the game is just slow enough that a slip of the finger isn't going to end up being fatal. It's a great piece of balancing and means your deaths never feel cheap.

Ace Combat: Northern Wings is an unflinchingly tough shooter, and while it doesn't have the manic pace of a bullet-hell title it still punishes you for making too many mistakes.

Thankfully, the game gives you infinite continues, and it's enjoyable enough that you'll want to push on to see what happens next. This is a great example of a mobile shooter done well, full of action, explosions, and fun.

Ace Combat: Northern Wings

A tough but hugely entertaining shooter, Ace Combat Northern Wings is well worth a download
Harry Slater
Harry Slater
Harry used to be really good at Snake on the Nokia 5110. Apparently though, digital snake wrangling isn't a proper job, so now he writes words about games instead.