I've played many air combat games over the years and often I'm left less than impressed, so it was with a little reservation that I tried Ace Combat Assault Horizon Legacy + for the 3DS (or in my case the New 3DS XL).
It's fair to say that Ace Combat Assault Horizon Legacy + is a minor update of the previously released Ace Combat Horizon Legacy, which includes some new, but limited, amiibo features. In all it's quite a simple game, but unlike those other air combat games I mentioned above, it's also a whole lot of fun.
The main premise of Ace Combat is to go through the game, completing various objectives which come tougher as you progress. At first you'll find yourself in dogfights and the like before moving on to more challenging tasks, such as taking out ground targets and going face to face with the other sides elite pilots. The campaign is around four hours long, although by playing in short bursts that time will feel adequate.
What I really love about the game is that missions are both simple and quick. You'll get your objective, head out into the skies and come home again happy that your aircraft is in one piece. It's not complicated at all, which is great because that's the last thing you want from a portable title. Another bonus from playing this game on the go is that the controls are really simple. The Circle Pad controls movement, while boosters and breaks use the shoulder buttons and guns and missiles find themselves at home on the face buttons. There's also some options for radar and Special Weapons using the D-Pad. Also if you like, you can use the 'Classic' option for more authentic controls.
As with most air combat game, you'll often find that you can stall your plane or have to avoid crashing into the ground, but these are minor inconveniences that take a back seat to the combat. What's most fun about this game is getting close to your target, locking on and firing missiles. This is made easier by the special manoeuvre which is mapped to the Y button. What happens here is that when your opponent is close by your can press the button and watch a short cutscene of your manoeuvring into place behind them, making it a lot easier to take them out with a missile. Similarly, if an opponent has a lock on your then you're able to use a combination of the Circle Pad and Y button to get out of the way.
Away from the action, the developer has thrown in some fun options, such as the ability to unlock and buy new aircraft, while you can also use customisations to make it your own. In addition you can also grab some special weapons, get better equipment and more. Of course there are also Nintendo-themed planes in this edition which are unlocked by finding question mark blocks in clearly marked stages and if you have a New 3DS or XL you can also scan amiibo for exclusive customisations.
Once you have finished story mode then there's a whole load of Survival Missions to complete and you can also go back and play any previously completed mission in Freeplay Mode. So there is plenty of value here on the whole.
Overall Ace Combat Assault Horizon Legacy + is a pretty great game. It looks fantastic, especially in 3D on the latest version of the handhelds, it's simple to play and fun enough in short bursts. While I'm not a huge fan of air combat games I'd certainly recommend this game to anyone with a 3DS.