War is the scourge of mankind, the dark shadow to humanity’s inventiveness. Creativity is what allows us to advance further, becoming richer and more intricate beings, but the ability to imagine and create almost anything means it’s possible to imagine and create more vicious and destructive tools of mass destruction. On the plus side, explosions! Rogue Aces Deluxe is a 2D aerial combat game set in a war-torn pixel-art land, where the ultra-British forces of Green fight against the scourge of the Orange menace. As a new pilot you take to the skies to shoot down planes, blimps, and bombers, then head back to earth to drop bombs and missiles on enemy buildings.
Each mission starts from the deck of the aircraft carrier, launching the plane over the water and into combat. As each randomly-generated campaign wears on the plane fights further into enemy territory, carrying a tank of gas that feels generous but still wears down if things take too long or you travel too far. In addition to blowing up everything that moves and many things that don’t, clearing the buildings around an airfield leaves it ripe for conquest, and simply landing there means you’ve claimed a new airfield closer to the next mission. While the missions aren’t all that complicated, primarily of the “fly here and destroy X number of things”, it’s nice to have a tactical option to keep an eye out for.
After a few missions new options open up as well, such as an arcade mode that doesn’t interrupt the action with a return to base or the Frontline Campaign that sees you flying from island to island to complete a series of missions of destruction. Rogue Aces Deluxe is straight arcade action just barely dressed up in action-roguelike clothes but it does a good amount with it, and it’s always fun to go in guns blazing to an aerial dogfight, then pull off a lightly tricky but deeply satisfying landing back at base to heal and restock on heavy weaponry.
Rogue Aces Deluxe is an enhanced version of the Switch game from a couple years back, bigger and shinier than ever. It’s available on both Steam and itch.io, with demos available on each platform, and of course the obligatory trailer as well. Give it a watch below, or jump straight to the demo to show the orange forces that war is actually good for something after all, and that’s making things blow up real good.