After just an hour on MySims SkyHeroes, I knew exactly what to expect from everything afterwards. I knew that the next however many levels of single player were going to be the same as the last however many levels of single player; I knew that the multiplayer would be exactly the same, albeit played with a bunch of kids instead of the average AI enemies thrown in by the solo mode; and I knew the storyline and characters would make just as little sense as they previous had. I totally get the idea of the MySims series; it’s a good use of the Sims name, and a great way to introduce kids to Sims and also gaming as a pastime, but SkyHeroes is most of the time pretty darn lazy.
In SkyHeroes, you take control of a rookie pilot, taking part in dogfights and races to earn the title of pick of the litter. Destroying enemies and piloting your ship is achieved through a series of simple commands that makes use of the entire controller without overcomplicating things for a young audience. Everything is very responsive, and you can really feel like you’re in control when you’re playing. Your main weapons in your arsenal are a machine gun and missiles, but different power-ups can be activated during missions to help you along the way. It’s a very simple system, and one that won’t take very long at all for you to get your head around, which is fantastic when you consider who this game is marketed at. That’s pretty much it really; MySims is really that basic, whether that’s a good or a bad thing is down to your own judgement, but you can totally see why the game has been presented this way.
Just like in MySims bigger brother, you have a host of customising options to hand. First off you can customise your MySim purely for your own enjoyment, with a bunch of different hair, face and clothing styles available. You’ll be able to play as a few gaming favourites too, like Isaac from Dead Space and Shepard from the Mass Effect series. Designing a vehicle is much more productive, with different pieces effecting speed, armour and acceleration, and you can also equip up to three perks that can affect things such as power-up damage. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that customising is the best part of the game, which I guess doesn’t say much for everything else, really.
The story mode sees you completing various tasks for a bunch of characters that you meet as the story progresses. I’d love to be able to tell you that the story is funny and has some hold over how missions pan out, but I can’t; it’s a thrown together tale of something-or-other that you’ll not bother taking any notice of, and the characters are just as dull too. It’s during this single player venture that you’ll also notice SkyHeroes biggest problem – the sheer amount of repetition that you have to endure which is enough to bring you to tears.
Switching between levels is almost futile, they’re almost always identical. You swap between races and dogfights, which are pretty much the same anyway. The only difference between a dogfight and a race is that during a race you’ll be following a route while shooting each other; that’s really what it comes down to. If that wasn’t bad enough, there isn’t much of a challenge to be had. You don’t ever feel like you’re achieving anything or making progress, because you can fail missions and still continue regardless. At one point, I came fourth in a race and still managed to progress to the next level, which goes against the whole point of playing the thing in the first place.
SkyHeroes isn’t all bad though; multiplayer can be pretty fun now and again and its here that you’ll spend most, if any, of your time. It supports up to ten players online, and you can choose various options to adjust play, but once again you’re limited to races and dogfights. Still, it’s much more fun when playing with real people and despite the limited choice with the power-ups, the aggressive ones such as the laser can be mighty fun to unleash on a non-A.I. victim.
Graphically the game is pretty much average, but it works. It’s cutesy and appealing, the bright, big-headed characters fit the feel of SkyHeroes, and as a whole it’s what you need for a game of this kind.
SkyHeroes gets me quite angry if I’m honest. By all means, the simple gameplay and decent multiplayer are great for the target audience, but even kids will find SkyHeroes terribly repetitive and boring for the most part. While the premise is good and should indeed work, the complete lack of attempt to add any level of variation is absurd. There are much better games aimed at kids that do a far better job of entertaining than this.
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