Alan Martin reports:
''Recently, Xbox Live Arcade titles have been stretching the genre-definition of "arcade" to a distance that is more than a little uncomfortable. With the likes of Penny Arcade: Episode 1 and Puzzle Quest requiring more of a commitment than some full-price titles, it's good to see some developers going back to the dream: quick pick-up-and play thrills and spills. With this goal, Aces of the Galaxy aims to conquer the universe with an 800-point price tag.
You can't get much more arcadey that a shoot-'em-up, but unlike so many XBLA titles in that genre, Aces of the Galaxy isn't played from the top-down perspective. You pilot the ship in 3-D, with limited control over the direction you take while enemies attack you head-on - a bit like N64 classic Starfox, only a lot faster. Armed with an arsenal of upgradeable weapons, the idea is to last through the 10 levels of the campaign (there are more levels out there, but you have to pick a 10-map path through) without getting shot down, or crashing on the asteroids and other obstacles that fly past you at breakneck speeds. At its best, it's exhilarating stuff, as you frantically try to stay alive until the next ship repair power-up, but there's also a couple of shots of frustration to this explosive cocktail, when the controls aren't quite responsive enough to steer you clear of an asteroid. And then another. And then another.''