Air Barrons Game

Be a Fighter Ace in Air Barons

If you feel like shooting enemy planes and consider yourself pretty dexterous, then grab the chance to own the skies in the 3d shoot 'em up, Air Barons.

For a browser game, Air Barons is pretty interesting. The most apparent difference is that it is in full 3D. This means that you get to experience the thrill of aerial combat as it should. Well, virtually speaking at least. Just be warned that the game may slow to a crawl and even freeze on you when run using the default settings. Thankfully, Shockwave allows you to use Directx and not your browser in order to render the graphics properly.

That being said, we found that maneuvering the plane was smooth once we fiddled with the Shockwave settings. Dogfights are pretty fast-paced, with enemy planes zipping past and deftly avoiding bullets. With the AI hell bent on your destruction, the challenge in this game will surely appeal to both shoot 'em up fans and flight sim connoisseurs.

The controls are intuitive, with the Arrow Keys controlling movement. Rolling right is done by double tapping the Right Arrow, while rolling left is done by double tapping the Left Arrow. Pressing Z will fire your plane's machine gun and targets are chosen with the use of the X button. While there is no way to reassign and save control configurations, we really appreciate the fact that there is a toggle button for the vertical controls. This means that you may invert the keys responsible for the pitch of your aircraft according to whichever feels more natural.

While the basic game play is focused on blowing up enemy aircraft, it may not be wise to shoot at everything that comes along. Because there is a time limit per mission, you may not be able to fulfill stage requirements if you get sidetracked by pursuing grunt planes for too long. For instance, the third level's Spy Chase mission entails you to shoot down a specific plane. Compared to your usual targets, this spy aircraft is tougher and is able to take more hits from you so spending too much time fending off its pesky entourage may just result in a failed mission.

The Energy bar found on the lower right corner of the screen represents your plane's HP. If you are in dire need of a pick me up, you can look for item boxes magically kept in the air by parachutes. These may give you health or money (which adds to your score) depending on their markings. You may opt to run through or simply shoot at them to pick up the bonuses contained within.

Keep in mind that there is no way to choose or replay a level. After finishing a stage, you may resume the stage you are at using the Continue function in the Menu. However, if you mistakenly choose "Play" instead, you will lose the levels you have cleared. This could have easily been solved with the use of a level select feature, but with the game as it is, just be mindful of which button you press.

So, should you play Air Barons? If you don't mind the quirks we mentioned and can stand the spelling errors scattered about the game, then it warrants at least a try. The game is pretty entertaining; and the fact that it is a free browser-based 3D flightsim earns additional brownie points from us.