Intern Project turned into an XBLA Gem
Back in the Summer of '07 I was shocked one night to find a free game available on Xbox Live Arcade, and promptly downloaded this oddity. I didn't know what to expect, before playing Aegis Wing I had read a little bit about it and knew it was developed by a very small team working at Microsoft. What they produced is better than some of the stuff that full studios puts out there, but that isn't to say this game is without flaws.
Aegis Wing is your standard side scrolling shooter also known as a Shoot 'Em Up or "schmup" set in some distant world with 4 distinctly colored yet identical ships. The goal of the game is the shoot everything on screen, make it to the boss, out maneuver a brief americanized version of "bullet hell", beat the boss and move on. Rinse and Repeat. It's a fun game but it can be beat fairly quickly solo and a combination of skilled players can finish up a game is about 30 minutes. There is a very forgiving learning curve built in this game though. Even if you can't find the handle of controlling your ship and shooting too, you can partner up with a friend and join your ships together allowing one player to act as a turret allowing the other player to focus on control or to shoot if they please.
Unfortunately, the game isn't all that challenging and veterans of the genre will quickly breeze through the relatively easy (when compared to other "shmups" out there) bosses and will have to decide if chasing high scores on the leader boards is worth the repeated play. Along with the easier bosses there are a variety of pick ups to aide you along the way. These powers include a shield that deflects projectiles, homing rockets, a laser beam, and a neutralization field that negates all enemies that pass through it. The power ups become important if you are gunning for the best times and scores but at no point in the game does it ever feel like you need them to survive.
The game looks and sounds nice, even if the menus are again, quite plain. Many of the problems with Aegis Wing stem from being a game made by a tiny team of interns, yet the game does not come off feeling "cheap". I could easily see paying 400 MSP perhaps even 800 MSP but for being a free game that's easy to jump into, there's no excuse not to have this game on your hard drive and / or memory stick.