IGN Review of MySims SkyHeroes
A few years ago, EA decided to take the uber popular Sims brand and create a spin-off with more structured gameplay and aimed at kids. The result was MySims, which has enjoyed a number of releases in a variety of genres. MySims SkyHeroes sees the blocky characters dip their toes into yet another gaming genre with mixed results.
There are essentially two things to do in SkyHeroes: race and dogfight (the airplane kind; not the Michael Vic kind). Both of these modes include a number of power-ups peppered through each environment to keep things interesting. However, I found it surprising that the power-ups are all pretty straightforward and boring – missiles, lasers, mines – as opposed to humorous things like we might see in a Mario Kart game, especially since the tone of the MySims games tends to be on the goofy side.
The gameplay itself is pretty decent. The controls are simple and intuitive, and the game doesn't penalize you for running into walls or other structures. You respawn almost immediately after dying. In addition, there's some standard Sims fare, like the ability to customize your character and your plane, though most of these customizations are purely cosmetic. The only functional changes you can make are three levels of armor, speed, and acceleration, and three slots to equip perks, such as increasing damage of certain power-ups.
The game has a single-player story mode, but it's just about as boring and repetitive as they come. Lots of plain, uninspired dialogue between racing and dogfighting missions--which themselves don't really change except for the environment--makes up the bulk of the story mode. There are a few different missions thrown in here and there, where, for example, you have to blow up a specific weapon, but they're not enough to keep things interesting.
At times, the story simply doesn't gel with the gameplay. For example, there's one mission where the dialogue says you must beat one of the bad guys to a stash of money. However, as long as you finish in one of the three top slots, you've won the mission, even if the bad guy places above you. I can understand wanting to make the game accessible by not making it super hard to progress, but the story really should matche the actual gameplay a bit better.
All of that said, story is not the most important thing in a game like this. Dogfighting and racing are best when you've got lots of real people competing, and SkyHeroes supports up to six players online in both modes, as well as local multiplayer for two players. In addition, players can choose between team and free-for-all play and can adjust settings including damage, power-ups, and winning conditions. You also have access to special cameo characters in multiplayer, including Mass Effect's Commander Shepard, Dragon Age's Morrigan, and Dead Space's Isaac.
There's nothing revolutionary about the multiplayer, but it can be fun at times. At this point, though, online play doesn't seem to be much of an option. Not because it doesn't work, but because no one is playing. Multiple attempts to find online games over the past week yielded no results for me.
©2010-10-08, IGN Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved