|System: Wii, X360, PS3, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: The Sims Studio||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Electronic Arts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sept. 28, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-6||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
As with many other consumer products, branding in gaming is obviously a huge consideration for publishers. As gamers, we can rely on annual installments of Tiger Woods, Madden, and Call of Duty, and by and large, the content of such games doesnt see much change from entry to entry. With the MySims franchise, however, it seems Electronic Arts (EA) isnt afraid of mixing things up, and once again the lovable little chibis are trying something new.
Unlike past MySims games, customization and creation isnt the focus of MySims SkyHeroes. Sure, you can mack out your plane and dress up your MySims, but the gameplay actually takes center stage here. Thats a good thing, too.
MySims SkyHeroes is a tight, little package, but its also a fairly basic affair. As you might have guessed from the title, this is a game all about air combat. Similar to Snoopy Flying Ace (XBLA), youll spend most of your time in dogfights, and Mario Kart-style racing makes up the other half of whats on offer here.
With that in mind, what MySims SkyHeroes sets out to do, it does quite well. The story mode is mostly a means of acquainting the player with the particulars of gameplay, but its still a nice addition when youre forced to go it alone. The single-player game is mission-based, and based on your performance at the end of each mission, youll earn various plane parts and accessories, as well as unlock additional MySims for use in Quickplay.
The multiplayer options include both local, two-player split-screen, and online play (for up to six players) via the Nintendo WiFi Connection. Players can choose between either races or dogfights (free for all or team matches), but the options during online play are fairly limited. Theres no real lobby system, and map selection is the only thing you get to vote on when it comes to match options. There are achievements, as well as a ranking system that accompany online play, but all perks are unlocked from the outset. Thats a shame, too, since unlockables are always a great impetus for repeat play. Based on my brief experience playing online, the matches are lag-free. Unfortunately, I was rarely able to find anyone else to hook up with.
That pretty much leaves local multiplayer or online play with friends as the only viable options when it comes to competitive play. Here youre given a bit more freedom to tweak matches and cater to your specific tastes. With twelve levels to choose from, theres ample gameplay variety, and the design of each level has been given thoughtful attention to the action at hand. Power-ups are placed strategically, and players are rewarded with health drops after an enemy has been defeated. Additionally, the planes control well and are a joy to handle.
Controls are relegated to both the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, and though you can opt to waggle to perform various maneuvers, motion control is not a requirement. Everythings been mapped smartly, and along with subtle rumble and other tactile feedback, controlling the planes in SkyHeroes feels natural and fun. My only minor quibble is that when you crash into environmental objects, your plane just bounces no explosions, no damage. Sure, it helps keep the flow of gameplay going, but it also makes things a bit too easy.
For me, the overall vibe of MySims SkyHeroes is what makes it a winner. Though racing and dogfights are your only two real gameplay options, a lot of love obviously went into the games creation. Levels are a blast to explore, and the characters and art style have a quirky, lovable sense of humor. Theres enough room to eke out a good game of cat & mouse, yet the action always feels urgent due to the tightness of the level design.