A common sight on the Ace Combat series, minigames are minor skippable sequences involving the player's plane actions based on real-life aviation. All mini-games have a time limit of 2 minutes. (except for the mini-games in Ace Combat X2: Joint Assault, Ace Combat: Assault Horizon, Ace Combat Infinity, and frontline minigames in Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation)
List of Minigames
A very simple mini-game included in various missions, this mini-game is the most commonly found one in the series. The aircraft must be accelerated to a speed of around 150 mph/300kmh. After that speed has been achieved the aircraft must be pitched up in order to gain altitude. The mini-game ends when the plane has risen high enough and/or has advanced far enough. A variant of the normal airfield take off is carrier take off. The aircraft will remain stationary on the catapult until the aircraft has gained enough power to lift itself after launch, the catapult will then launch the aircraft forward automatically. In Ace Combat 6, take off can be initiated right in the middle of a battle if the player landed on a friendly airfield available in the current operation area to resupply. In this mode, the aircraft will be vulnerable to enemy attacks, so it's recommended to take off immediately after resupplying.
Every once in a while, one will have to land in an airbase following a mission. A diamond-like shape will appear in the HUD: it indicates the approach to runway. In order to score a good bonus in the mission debriefing, the player has to land right in the middle of the runway. The type of landing will be indicated by the take-off controller (for example, "Perfect, Blaze!" indicates a perfect landing.) However, this, along with the takeoff, carrier landing, and refueling minigames appear very little to none in Ace Combat Assault Horizon. In Ace Combat 6, if an airfield is under Emmerian control in the operation area, the player can use the airfield to resupply his aircraft during the battle without having to return to another Emmerian air base via the Return Line. Landing on the frontline airfield will require the player to fly within range of the runway and press the left stick on the controller to deploy the landing gear. The player then will have to land on the field just like in the safe airfield. The landing can be cancelled by pressing the left stick again. Landing on a frontline airfield is considerably more dangerous if there are enemies around the airfield, so it's recommended to clear the airfield vicinity of enemies or deploy an Allied Cover before starting the landing procedure.
The third type of minigame is airborne refueling. As expected, one has to approach a KC-10 tanker to initiate the refueling process. Similar to landing, a diamond-like shape appears, indicating the approach. The player has to fly to the tanker and hold still for a few seconds (during the HOLD POSITION message), after which the refueling process will begin and the mini-game is complete.
Aircraft Carrier Landing
Same as a regular landing, except on a carrier. Known as probably the hardest type of mini-game, which includes catching the arresting wire and not crashing into the superstructure of the ship. Also, the length of the aircraft carrier is considerably shorter than that of a regular runway. Though in the games, carrier landing is much easier than in real life since the aircraft will stop even if the aircraft missed the arresting wire or landed incorrectly on the carrier.
In carrier take off, the player can attempt to stay low and land back on the carrier. Though this will usually result in the aircraft get forcefully catapulted forward even though the player didn't stop on the catapult.