The US Navy’s Blue Angels are one of the most Elite groups of aviators in the world. So when I saw this title pop up for pre-order in the Xbox store I have to say that I was pretty stoked. The thought of flying in formation and performing tight manoeuvres at low altitudes was exhilarating…..
Until I played the game…….
Sadly, my expectations were left unmet. It’s my own fault. I should have done the research. I mean, shame on me for expecting a game called Blue Angels Aerobatic Flight Simulator to ACTUALLY BE A FLIGHT SIMULATOR! Truth be told, Blue Angels is a direct port of a mobile game and plays as such. If you are hoping to sit down with your T.Flight Hotas One *(that’s if you were fortunate enough to snag one, but that’s a different subject altogether)* you WILL be disappointed. Thrustmaster’s flight stick is currently not supporting this game and I have no reason to expect it in the future.
Ok I know I’m coming off as being hard on this game. I don’t mean to. It just wasn’t what I was expecting on an Xbox One. First off, the visuals are exactly the same as the mobile version. Exactly the same. On the small screen they look great. On my 46 inch television, however, not so much. On a big screen it’s borderline bland. I found most of the camera views to be awkward for one reason or another. Even the cockpit view felt slightly uncomfortable but was the best option I thought.
On to gameplay. The controller does ok but feels a little too arcadey. Thumbsticks make it really difficult to have that fine control of your aircraft that you need. Especially flying in formation. Speaking of formation flying, you aren’t really flying in formation so much as the formation flies around you. Any adjustments you make are instantly mirrored by the other planes in formation. I know that sounds contradictory but let me explain. It’s one thing to make little twitch adjustments to one plane to stay in formation but when you see four planes making near simultaneous twitch adjustments its a bit of a letdown.
That reduced the thrill factor for me big-time as I never felt in danger of colliding with the other planes at that distance of eighteen inches from wing tips that the Blue Angels are famous for. Things like your smoke stream, rudders, and landing gear need to be activated on cue to get your highest scores. You must follow the flight path by staying within the green lines on either side of your plane. This actually gave me the sense of riding a rollercoaster rather than flying a plane. Before each manoeuvre you will be given a short briefing on what is expected. You’re basically playing that old children’s game Simon Says with jet airplanes. Each manoeuvre takes a relatively short time to execute so expect a lot of breaks in the gameplay.
The developer could have really hit it out of the park had they decided to make a multiplayer component to the game. Imagine trying to fly in close formation with your friends while doing the airshow manoeuvres. Even with the short mission lengths that would have been some real white knuckle flying. Alas, the only time you’ll see another gamertag is in the leaderboards. A shame really. I might have been able to overlook some of the other shortfalls of this game if that had been included.
So that’s it folks. Blue Angels Aerobatic Flight Simulator just has too many should’ve, could’ve, would’ves to make the investment on Xbox one. I found myself enjoying the mobile version more and I would recommend that instead. But hey, it’s your $14.99 to spend. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you. It breaks my heart to give the game a 2/10.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.