Starship Dogfights and Galactic Rebellion for the Cheap-Ass Gamer

If you want to take to the skies in an advanced aerospace fighter, frag noobs with missile clusters and join a massive battle against a hulking enemy mothership, but your gaming budget is spread a little too thin, then you should check out Air Rivals. It's a spaceship dogfighting MMORPG that's easy to jump right into, but has some interesting depth as you level up your pilot. Best of all, it doesn't cost a dime to play.


You can download Air Rivals, create an account and play the game completely for free. Like Exteel, the giant robot fighting MMORPG we talked about a few weeks ago, you can spend a few bucks to buy better weapons and cosmetic upgrades, but you can also earn credits to buy those things just by completing missions.

Starship Dogfights and Galactic Rebellion for the Cheap-Ass Gamer


The in-game graphics are not stunning, but at combat speed you don't really notice. The ships and characters are anime influenced - between missions you leave your ship (called a Gear) and walk around a spaceport. There you can meet other players or select new missions. The loading screens feature some truly awesome sci-fi art.

Starship Dogfights and Galactic Rebellion for the Cheap-Ass Gamer


Your craft is controlled through simple mouse movement, and the dogfights can be pretty exhilarating. As you advance in levels, you'll be asked to select a faction in a galactic rebellion. You can then compete in battles that will earn points for your faction. When a faction hits a certain point threshold, the game automatically sends a massive mothership to attack the other side.

Starship Dogfights and Galactic Rebellion for the Cheap-Ass Gamer


The game can seem a little off-beat at times. Much of this can be chalked up to its origins with a German developer (Gameforge 4D), like this description of weapon upgrades:

Legend system is for upgrading weapons and armors to upper-class with virtue and wickedness vigor.
But some things are just plain weird, like the sci-fi trollop who guides you through the tutorial. The game is worth downloading just to hear her explain weapons systems in a voice that sounds like a bored flight attendant going over pre-flight safety procedures. Is Air Rivals as good as EVE Online? Of course not. But if you're a gamer with both eyes on the bottom line, you won't find a better space dogfighting game for your (lack of) money. (Thanks to Schwarzwald for the tip.)