MySims Sky Heroes
Reviewed by Brandy Shaul
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2010-10-22 PS3 Racing E (Everyone) EA

The MySims franchise has done a great job of offering what seem to be conventional gameplay experiences to a younger audience, but with a clever, colorful, and altogether entertaining twist that makes them better than the norm. With MySims SkyHeroes, we see the franchise transitioning from the strictly family friendly arenas of the Nintendo DS and Wii onto the major HD platforms. However, where games that came before (like MySims Agents or MySims Kingdom) did a great job of drawing in players both young and old, SkyHeroes seems to have a bit of trouble finding the same balance between the age groups.

You'll play the game as a mysterious pilot with a case of amnesia, who is discovered by a renegade group of airmen (and women). For reasons that are at first unknown, you have an amazing skill set as a pilot, and are brought into the organization to take down the returning evil of Morcubus, a recurring character in the franchise, who serves as the major antagonist.

Morcubus has taken over the skies, and those left down below are finding it hard to acquire the resources necessary to live. The SkyHeroes, then, work to bring freedom back to the skies by defeating Morcubots and various other henchmen.

The gameplay is mission based, with short story segments being presented before and after every major mission.

Unlike games like MySims Agents, that allowed your customizable Sim to walk freely around the environment, instead, these character interactions are played from a sort of first-person perspective.

You can see the characters that you're talking to, and you can see your own speech bubbles (as usual, the voice acting is entirely high-pitched Simlish), but you'll never see yourself until you've actually taken to the skies.

There are two major mission types, both of which are recycled over different locations, with perhaps one or two tweaks, in terms of whether or not you're looking to destroy other pilots, or perhaps a large satellite or weapon that is causing trouble for you and yours (as just one example).

Other than these dogfight missions, there are also racing missions, that take on a feeling not entirely unlike Mario Kart, in that you'll race around a set track, collecting power-ups that can either hinder your opponents or add a boost to your own speed or defensive capabilities. Certain power-ups allow you to place mines in your wake, launch shotgun blasts from the front, or even launch homing missiles at a particular target (among many others). These power-ups add a nice layer to the gameplay, which would otherwise be entirely repetitive without them.

It's in this that the game struggles the most. For the younger audience, the cute, colorful graphics, simple storyline and even simpler controls will do well to initiate the unfamiliar.

However, the difficulty level in certain missions is such that younger children will quickly become frustrated, and even those older players with less practice with other aerial combat games may have difficulty.

As it stands, each mission has three completion levels Bronze, Silver, and Gold. If you complete the mission in third place or above, you automatically complete that portion of the story, and can move on without penalty. The Silver and Gold medal levels simply serve as a way to unlock more of the large supply of unlockable content at your fingertips (mostly new plane parts - both functional and decorative that allow you to create stronger, faster planes over time).

While it might be simple enough to rack up a first place win in the aforementioned racing missions, the dogfights are where the difficulty level becomes a bit disappointing. It isn't the that AI enemies are star pilots, able of out maneuvering you it's that your AI team-mates will frequently steal your kills, power-ups, or simply jump into your path to try and kill the enemies themselves, taking your Gold or Silver medal, or otherwise impeding your overall progress.

Luckily, the more time you spend with the game, the easier it becomes, as you'll naturally become more familiar with the maps, and the movements of your enemies (allowing you to intercept and eliminate before your partners have the chance). You can also take a break from the single-player mode and play the game with friends, via either multiplayer dogfights or races, which is a nice touch.

Overall, MySims SkyHeroes is a passable experience, but there really isn't anything special to make it stand out. For younger players, the difficulty can be set a bit too high, but for older players, the repetition can quickly become draining. The game walks a very thin line between being a children's title, and a casual adult title, but unfortunately, excels at neither. If you're interested in taking to the skies as a Sim, it's best to do so in a rental capacity before investing in the full product.

Special thanks to Lilit Baron and EA for providing a copy of this title.