Wait. Did I really fly all the way to Tokyo and brave the TGS masses to play Snoopy Flying Ace? Yup. After all, the Xbox Live Arcade game had one of the more promising gameplay trailers this year.
Snoopy Flying Ace is a fairly straightforward dogfighting game with a cute, younger-skewing bent to it. In Snoopy Flying Ace, no one dies when their biplane is shot down. No, they parachute to safety, every time. Think of it as a Warhawk for the Peanuts fan.
Control is simple. Aim and steer with the left analogue stick. Fire missiles and machine guns with the triggers, mindful that your ship's guns don't overheat. Evasive maneuvers can be performed with the right analogue stick, with barrel rolls to the left and right, direction-changing loop de loops mapped to the up and down directions. Snoopy and company can also accelerate or decelerate with two of the face buttons. Enough in the way of control to make things interesting, but not bogged down with something complex.
Snoopy Flying Ace mixes things up with a handful of power-ups scattered about the playfield. As far as we could gather—it was us versus a team of bots—those include items like faster engines, shields and the ability to turn near invisible, courtesy of a ghost shaped pick up.
On the level we played, there were also a few mounted cannons, tucked away in nooks that could be controlled just by flying into them. That made us an easy target for the bots we faced, but the static shooting action made taking down foes much easier.
From the few minutes worth of Snoopy Flying Ace we played, it appears the developer is offering something fun, but not necessarily deep, for Xbox Live Arcade dogfighters. Given the right user base, the game could offer a non-violent alternative to the deathmatch options on XBLA. Or at least give the Peanuts loving inner child something to mess around with.