Action takes place from behind your star fighter. The left stick steers, while pressing the two trigger buttons performs barrel rolls to the left and right. You also have the ability to slow down time, which comes in handy during later missions. Your ship also comes equipped with the ability to scan for hidden ships, though this feature seems out of place with the rest of the game. If the function were vital to mission goals, it would make sense. However, the ability is really just an excuse to include invisible enemies that add little to the experience - especially since using it leaves you open to attack.
You have three weapons to take out enemy ships; a machine gun, homing missiles and torpedoes. The machine gun is the weapon you'll rely upon most, while your homing missiles come with the ability to lock-on to targets, which is great for fast moving enemies. Torpedoes are best used only in situations when you know you have a clear shot. They do a nice amount of damage, but are incredibly slow and take some time to launch.
All three can be upgraded, though finding upgrades is usually a chore. Some will appear in the distance and, no matter how much you try to push your ship in their direction, they remain unattainable. When you do manage to score an upgrade, you lose it at the end of the level, which just feels wrong.
Aces of the Galaxy isn't the best shooter available on XBLA, but it is solid enough that it should satisfy the more hardcore fans of the genre.