Ever wanted to be in a World War II cockpit? Probably not. In reality, it was very dangerous, and your chances of becoming an ace pilot were pretty slim. Fortunately, while War Wings might like to be historically accurate, it’s mostly a pretty entertaining arcade style twist on Second World War combat.

Purely online, it has you getting involved in 4 v4 dogfighting. Each battle involves you flying through the skies, pursuing your attackers while also trying to dodge your opponents. A ticket system dictates how many chances your team has. Each time one of you is shot down, you lose a ticket, eventually running out entirely and losing the game.

With scoring that simple, it’s nice to see that combat is similarly easy to come to grips with. You steer with a virtual joystick with virtual buttons allowing you to boost, shoot and change weapons. Each button is a decent size too, meaning you shouldn’t slip and hit the wrong option at a crucial moment.

Each round of combat lasts a few minutes at most, proving ideal for mobile gaming. It’s satisfying too. You’re told when your opponent is within firing range, and a small box highlights where to target so that you can hit them. Pursuing an enemy and watching their health trickle down is really rather satisfying and enjoyable. Of course, the key is to keep on the move so that your enemy can’t fire back at you in the same way. It’s easy to be ganged up on, especially if the rest of your team isn’t really trying very hard. As is the case with any multiplayer game, teamwork can help massively, and it’s sometimes hard to co-ordinate given the inability to communicate mid-game. Luckily, as arenas are small, you mostly end up sticking together anyhow.

Given the speed involved, it’s good to see that the game can keep up. I didn’t notice any obvious lag or any potential issues that I could blame on my poor performances. Instead, it feels as smooth as if you were playing locally, ensuring you can focus on the task at hand rather than anything irritating.

Outside of the core part of the game, War Wings can keep you busy with its plethora of upgrade options. You can customize your plane fairly extensively, adding better armor and weaponry, as well as changing the ammo types you use. It’s all earned through regular play with the temptation to top things up with an in-app purchase or two. Researching new planes is also an option, thereby allowing you to form a better craft to take on the enemy. There’s a chance that things could turn a little too ‘pay to win’-ish but that isn’t obvious just yet, at least.

You can work your way up the PvP rankings too and earn some bonuses along the way, along with a League mode. There are also plenty of missions (achievements with a different name) to work toward which also unlock some extras for you. A Daily Challenge offers an offline experience but it’s pretty brief if useful as a way to earn bits and pieces. War Wings keeps things steadily interesting in this manner, meaning there’s always something to sink your teeth into.

While there’s little realism here other than basing the planes on the actual plane models, War Wings is a blast. It has that arcade style feeling to it while not being too cheap. You’ll still be able to achieve a fair bit in short bursts, or you can invest yourself fully into being the flying ace of the world. It’s a good mix of keeping you hooked but not requiring a significant commitment, unless you choose to.