Top-down, Side-scrolling Aces of the Lufwaffe hurts my brain

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Verticality makes perfect sense for arcade games; the less width each machine takes up, the more you can cram side by side. It makes even more sense for arcade shooters, providing more space to see the bullet hell ahead of you. Home versions of these games, however, have struggled with reshaping that vertical presentation to fit square CRTs and now widescreen formats. The best solutions have been to shrink down the game to fit the height of the TV screen or to physically turn the TV on its side.

Aces of the Luftwaffe takes that less-than-ideal physical solution and applies it to the game itself, rotating the vertical shooter action on its side. I’m no shooter historian but this is the first top-down shmup I can think of that scrolls left to right and it’s a little unsettling to see in action. It wasn’t designed this way from the beginning — Aces has been around on mobile devices since 2008 — but it’s a clever twist that lets the action fill the screen instead of being shrunk down. It also looks like a hearty challenge and is currently $4.99 on PlayStation 4 and Steam. Or check it out for free on iOS, Android, Windows, Windows Phone or the Amazon app store.

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