Game Reviews

Ace Ferrara and the Dino Menace

Star onStar onStar onStar offStar off
Ace Ferrara and the Dino Menace

With the current success of Guardians of the Galaxy at the box office, the combination of far-out sci-fi and grounded humour is very much in fashion.

It's the perfect time, then, to launch Ace Ferrara and the Dino Menace.

After all, here is a game in which you play an "intern" star pilot who joins the fight against a race of power-crazed dinosaurs, whose hotshot coworker is a 12 year old girl, and whose arch nemesis is a talking cat.

Intern-al conflict

The tone of Ace Ferrara and the Dino Menace is very much the thing here. Its style is decidedly and deliberately silly, but the writing is surprisingly smart.

Wise-cracks and visual puns are thrown at you at such a rate in between missions, and they hit their mark so often, that I found myself looking forward to them more than the missions. That's quite a rarity for a video game of any kind.

Of course, not all of this is down to the writing. Ace Ferrara and the Dino Menace's gameplay, while perfectly serviceable, isn't particularly memorable.

A beginner's guide to intergalactic warfare

Think of Ace Ferrara and the Dino Menace's gameplay as a kind of My First 3D Space Combat Game. Using an assortment of nimble star fighters you launch sorties, attack capital ships, fly escort missions, and negotiate treacherous minefields.

The main difference is that all of the action is on a 2D plane. There's no flying up or down - only rotating left and right. While this makes navigation and manipulation of the game's virtual controls a lot simpler and more mobile-friendly, it also saps the game of much of the thrill of the hunt.

Lining up shots on even the most mobile of targets is simply a case of shifting left and right with your left thumb whilst initiating evasive rolls by swiping with your right. Firing involves engaging auto-fire, and pressing the missile button when the lock-on engages on tougher enemies.

It just doesn't get the pulse racing, especially not on Normal mode.

Mission accepted

Still, missions are nicely varied and appreciably snappy. There are often several distinct components to each, as well as a surprisingly varied range of settings, from precarious asteroid fields to imposing close orbits around a sun.

You also get to fly an assortment of craft with noticeably differing handling characteristics.

The actual playing bits are a perfectly creditable way to kill time in between Ace Ferrara and the Dino Menace's snappy story sections. It's just that I'm not sure that's the right way round for any game.

Ace Ferrara and the Dino Menace

A fun and polished 3D space combat game with an amusing story that somewhat overshadows the by-the-book gameplay