reviews\ Dec 19, 2010 at 7:00 pm

MySims SkyHeroes Review


EA had a good idea when it chose to branch out with its MySims games, putting its characters in interesting situations (being secret agents, racing, etc.) rather than running the usual Sim-my standard. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean all the ideas work. The latest in the series, SkyHeroes, tries to adapt to a style similar to the flying stages in the Nintendo 64 classic Diddy Kong Racing, relying heavily on air combat. We use the word “tries” because it simply runs out of gas before reaching the finish line.

The story’s not bad. In the game, you’ll create your heroic pilot and team up with a group of aviators battling against the MorcuCorp, an evil group dedicated to destroying the simplistic Sim way of life. Now, being a kids’ game, you don’t have to worry about bloodshed or tyranny, as it’s played out in a very “Everyone 10+” fashion. That’s somewhat odd, considering some of the game’s bonus characters, Shepard from Mass Effect 2 and Isaac from Dead Space, emerge from mature-rated games.

However, once you get into the actual gameplay, MySims SkyHeroes never achieves maximum velocity. That’s because most of the time you’ll either be engaging in a straight-up race for first place or dogfighting against specific enemies – and that’s really all you’ll be doing through each game. Whether you’re taking on multiplayer or engaging in the Story Mode missions, you’re either hunting your targets or outrunning them. There’s hardly any variety to speak of here.

What’s more, even if you can tolerate the bland mission selection, you’ll become angry over the cheap AI. Both sides of the playing field, your teammates and your enemies, use cheap tactics against you. Your enemies won’t hesitate to roll out of harm’s way whenever you launch a missile attack (a maneuver that you can’t quite replicate with ease) or boost ahead miraculously after you’ve downed them during a race. Furthermore, your cohorts will sneak in to finish off opponents, taking away vital points that you need to complete your given task. As a result, the event drags on. Considering the core audience EA had in mind with this game, it would’ve done a lot of good to lighten up on the difficulty. A lot.

MySims SkyHeroes does benefit from both local and online multiplayer, as you’ll be able to play against human opponents in place of the incredibly cheap AI ones. However, there was noticeable lag during some sessions, and the local split-screen literally crams the screen together, making it hard to see weapons and passable gates. Once you learn the lay of the land, you’ll be okay, but that’s a lot of patience to rift through – and for a kids’ game, no less.

The graphics and music aren’t bad, but hardly anything that expands the MySims universe. The character models are cute (particularly pint-sized Shepard and Isaac), and the game runs at an efficient enough speed. Some of the levels look great as well, with environments that run through both wide-open terrain and indoor caves and tunnels. For the most part, though, it’s uninspired. The music has adventurous spirit to it, a nice change of pace from the usual “happy kart” fare we’ve heard in Mario Kart and such, but the sound effects are forgettable.

In the end, lacking mission variety and ridiculously heinous AI settings keep MySims SkyHeroes grounded. It might be worth a rent if you’re a fan of previous MySims games, but don’t purchase it unless you’ve got kids with incredibly high tolerance.

[Reviewed on Xbox 360]


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