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Aegis Wing – Xbox 360 (Live Arcade)

Aegis Wing – Xbox 360 (Live Arcade)

Platform: Xbox 360 (Live Arcade)

Developer: Microsoft Corporation, Carbonated Games

Publisher: Microsoft Studios

Release Date: May 16, 2007

Genre: Shooter

Nerd Rating:8.5

Reviewed by Cpn Crunch Time

Aegis Wing is the rare game on Xbox Live Arcade that is free without you needing a gold membership. It is also available forever as opposed to two weeks. Aegis Wing was created by three interns working for Microsoft Studios. With that kind of development you would think this game would scream “indie” at you with not only quality, but with it’s style. Fortunately enough Aegis Wing soars above those expectations with a sound, exciting, and fun re-imagining of classic arcade games like Defender, Scramble, and Gradius.

Aegis Wing isn’t a game that holds a lot of negatives. It is a trimmed down experience that knows exactly what it wants to be. So let me get out of the way what this game doesn’t have for anyone that hasn’t played this gem. Aegis Wing is in no way, shape, or form concerned with story. The most you get is a small paragraph before each level filling in the gaps from what happened between you destroying the boss from the last level, to the start of the next. Also this isn’t a lengthy open world exploration. Aegis Wing is a short game, only a few 10-15 minute levels, and the replay ability comes from the joy of the core game mechanics, and the fun of sitting with some friends and taking down a game that has some pretty decent challenge.

End=level bosses may not be epic, but they are challenging and fit in with the level theme

End=level bosses may not be epic, but they are challenging and fit in with the level theme

Aegis Wing never feels overwhelming when playing with your friends. You don’t have to restart the game from scratch like in an old NES game. You may have to do a level 2-3 times to get it down, but it never feels like you have to exert your mental energy, nor does it feel too easy. Really when playing with friends Aegis Wing will make you want to be the best. You want to be the one that can dodge the most bullets, get the most kills, and you want to be the last ship standing for a little while to prove how good you are. It is all an excellent competitive blend within the co-op. Your teammates are also your competitors. Although when playing alone I’m not even sure if the “Insane” difficulty mode is possible to beat. I have tried and I can hardly beat the first few levels so good luck to anyone trying that out.

So what makes Aegis Wing so great? This game is everything you loved about retro space shooters. You are up against a fleet that will change over time. They are constantly trying to give variety to the enemies. The bosses never feel too epic but they all have something that separates one from the next, and unlike most games these fights fit within the main concept of the combat. You are never given a boss that feels out of place. You dodge bullets and shoot all the same. You are also given multiple power ups ranging from the more obvious homing missiles, to the ever so clever “distortion” ability that would stop incoming bullets and make the approaching enemy ships obsolete as they lost functionality. The diversity among the game’s power ups allow you and your teammates to play a more defensive style as well as an offensive approach.

Aegis Wing Distortion

Check out that distortion ability!


The controls in Aegis Wing pretty much fit into the thinned out approach the experience is going for. You can move up, down, backward, and forward along the screen. It is in a sense a rail shooter because of the fact that you are not in control of the speed of the levels. Aegis Wing never feels like a slow methodical experience because of it though. You are always moving at a fast pace in Aegis Wing between dodging. Then you have your normal shoot button and your special fire button. Even with your special attacks you never have to worry about ammo. Your regular attack is unlimited, and you are constantly being rebuffed with special powers.

If you are an attentive reader you may have noticed the pluralization of the word “teammate”  two paragraphs ago. In Aegis Wing you can have not one, not two, but three teammates join in on the bullet hell fun.Your three teammates can be allotted to you either from Xbox Live, (which still has a surprisingly nice community) or just your friends on the couch. Aegis Wing keeps track of all your high scores and keeps a decent amount of stats to look into. It can be quite a fun competition to see which one of you and your friends can kill the most enemies with the best accuracy. One thing I wish the game did do was keep lifetime stats, or at the very least show a combination of all of your stats once you beat the game. Instead you only get the stats after each level and only for that level. It is just a minor flaw in a game that doesn’t have much to really nit pick about.


Watch out for the (almost) indestructible meteors that stand in your way!

One thing that has to be mentioned that isn’t mentioned enough when looking at games is the achievements. While the game only has a few achievements to grab they do have some very interesting, challenging ones that can add a little fun. I’m not sure how most people thought, but when I first heard about achievements what I immediately thought of was “challenges” that could be added to the game. I grew up a Final Fantasy fan, and I still remember trying to beat Final Fantasy 7 using only one character, or no Materia or with initial equipment. These are the kind of achievements I thought would litter the scene, but each individual game has a lot less of those kind of achievements, and more very basic straight forward ones. Aegis Wing, on the other hand, offers up a few unique achievements, such as trying to win a mission without shooting, that are always intriguing to me. Not to mention that the way the game play varies, despite the length of the overall experience, makes it very easy to find new ways to challenge yourself. Maybe you’ll only use offensive power ups, maybe only defensive, maybe none at all. It is easy and fun to find new ways to beat this game with a few buddies.

Aegis Wing connectivity 2

Don’t just team up with friends, outright connect to them to take down the enemy fleet!

There is just no way to beat the price of Aegis Wing. It is a free game and coupled with the sheer fun of the game play it is too good to pass up. You may not be getting an epic story, or a large open world experience, but you are getting an old school arcade style game that uses the new features of console gaming to give you one amazing revamped old school experience. The controls are simple, the co-op works as a teamwork focused game as well as competitive one, and it doesn’t have to consume your video game life. It won’t even cost you fifty cents and a trip to the arcade!

Nerd Rating:8.5

Written by Nerd Bacon

Nerd Bacon


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One Comment

  1. nerdberry
    nerdberry says:

    Dude awesome! I love shmups and this looks straight up awesome!


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