Three interns, with the help of Carbonated Games, threw together this space shooter as part of their learning experience. Someone at Microsoft must have played to realize 'hey, this is pretty good,' and avoiding the darker devils of their microtransaction nature, decided to offer it up to the Xbox Live Arcade community for nothing but a download.
You know what? It is pretty good. Well, not so much in single player. It feels like a watered down R-Type style horizontal shooter with less weapons (specials consist of homing missiles, bubble shield, laser, and a bullet clearing burst) and less variety of enemies, but there are two skill levels that over some pretty good shot patterns, with bullets easily marked to avoid if you have the skills. The stages run a bit too long on average, and the bosses are all pretty similar, with pattern attacks cribbed from Gradius and other shooters, but it's not a bad way to spend the twenty minutes it takes to clear.
Aegis Wing doesn't have enough content to compare to a commercial title, but for the short time it lasts, the game feels very complete, and is a great way to blast away a little free time among friends...
Multiplayer is where the action is. Up to four people can shoot this up cooperatively online, with a slick network interface borrowed from Carbonated's Uno, where pings and group sizes are clearly marked. Makes it a breeze to drop into any lobby, load up, and get blasting. That's where the Voltron-like game mechanic kicks in. At any time, these ships can join together, leaving one pilot as the designated driver, and all the link-ups as turrets that can now freely aim in any direction. Better yet, all special weapons increase in power, so unleashing a laser blast that once was a single line now fills half the screen, and a bubble shield guards everyone in the formation. The one important downside is the more ships that merge, the slower this makeshift star destroyer moves, making shot dodging and other enemy avoidance more difficult, especially against boss patterns. Knowing when to link and break away become the keys to survival.
So it borrows from classics and offers a few original ideas of its own. Aegis Wing doesn't have enough content to compare to a commercial title, but for the short time it lasts, the game feels very complete, and is a great way to blast away a little free time among friends with this free download. Add more weapons, more enemies, and more original bosses, and the whole package would have been worth dropping 400 or even 800 points for. Shooters belong on XBLA, and this one is ace.
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