Aces of the Galaxy comes as rather a surprise, as Xbox Live has a ridiculously long list of average space shooters with new developers every other week wanting a bite of the action. Most are poor, quickly completed and hold little gameplay value. Aces of Galaxy on the other hand has immense quality throughout, with bold and unique graphics, well presented menus, fantastic audio representation and some top notch gameplay to boot.
Featuring a continual rail movement camera scheme, you must navigate around the screen whilst the game pulls you along. As you get dragged along you will need to blast at continual enemy assaults whilst avoiding a string of debris. The controls seem simple enough, with A to fire your Chaingun, B to fire Torpedoes and X to fire Cluster Missiles (which can target multiple enemies if held). Controlling your ship is done by both analogue sticks, whilst giving you a convenient panic barrel roll with both triggers. Other than the primary controls you can search for invisible enemies with Y, and slow down time temporarily with the RB button.
All of this action and control comes together to form a beautiful pattern of chaos. You will literally spend the bulk of your time trying to differentiate between missiles, bullets, enemies and debris as you panic your way through each environment. The perfect sort of gameplay and action for a game of this genre! Enemies are coordinated and boss fights heat up the pace of the game noticeably. Unfortunately, this all gets repetitive before long and everything begins to feel a little samey.
Thankfully you can change things up a bit by changing difficulty, trying another of the three stage paths (all of which offer a fair amount of content) or fly into co-op play. Cooperatively the game jumps to a whole new level of confusion, with a mash of colours flying in all directions. Before long, you should get to grips with the increased chaos and find additional enjoyment to lengthen the package.
Aces of the Galaxy is certainly not for everyone. Whilst the level of quality is clear and fun is certainly to be had, the game will scare off many with its fast and confusing style of gameplay. Dips in the action can provide a slower pace of game, but when the action gets heavy many will likely turn down the difficulty. If you are looking for a challenge and particularly enjoy the genre, Aces of the Galaxy is enough diamond in the rough of Xbox Live Arcade.