We won’t bore you with too many stories. There was that bit in a Team Deathmatch game on the London map where the blue team were camped out on top of the houses of Parliament, carefully fortifying, only for the green team to reduce it to rubble. There was that bit where we led a wave of zombies through the mountain underneath the castle and burst through the fortifications on the roof. There was that bit where a cocky rocketeer was jetpacking from tree to tree in the forest, keeping one step ahead of the zombie hordes while your correspondent and his fellow brain-munchers swiped down tree after tree after tree. We’re not sure we’ve enjoyed any online shooter as much as Ace of Spades in Zombie mode all year.
Construction has a part to play as well. Each class can create certain blocks and place them in and on the landscape to create barriers, walls, steps and whole defensive outposts. We’ve seen snipers camping out on home-made towers and miners desperately shoring up defences against the zombie hordes. We’ve even seen miners creating staircases up the sides of fortresses to give the rest of the team an easy way in. Ace of Spades gives you all the tools you need to play smart or sneaky, and it all just adds to the fun.
There’s a certain negativity online about Ace of Spades. It began as a free experimental game with a slightly different focus, was bought by the rich Runescape publisher, Jagex, and is now being flogged on steam for £6.99. Not everyone likes the added classes or the other changes, and hardly anyone likes being charged to play. Even taken just on its own merits it’s not perfect. From time to time we’ve wondered whether the Rocketeer is overpowered, and whether ammo restrictions and reload times penalise the Commando and Sniper classes. Some maps are better than others, and it can be hard to find an active game with a low ping, while dropped connections aren’t unusual.
But here’s the thing: whatever Ace of Spades used to be, it’s a lot of fun now and £6.99 isn’t too high a price to pay to play it. It’s doubtful that it will have the longevity of either Team Fortress 2 or Minecraft, and its popularity could fizzle out within a few weeks. But while it’s here it’s worth buying, playing and celebrating. It’s a game we can come to frowning and come away from smiling. What more could you want for £7?
Ace of Spades looks and feels like Team Fortress 2 meets Minecraft, but that doesn’t really do justice to this stupidly brilliant, brilliantly stupid online FPS. The combination of shooting and sniping with destruction and construction is inspired, paving the way for all kinds of silly scenery-blasting, surprise-attack high-jinx. At £6.99 Ace of Spades deserves to be a hit.