Commercially they are somewhat of a niche product; and they do suffer from genre limitations. Realistically there is only so much you can do with a plane, gatling gun and a few rockets. MySims: Sky Heroes takes the gritty air combat format and makes it cute - a trait in itself which makes the game look fresh.
It's worth noting from the off that this is a kids game. The game's colourful palette is bouncy and attractive, but the game's pick-up and play manifesto is compounded in the controls. Flight combat games traditionally have us dancing in our seats, twisting our head trying to work out the correct way to angle the plane. Sky Heroes does away with that. The controls feel tight and precise, allowing you to maneuver the plane with toy-like accuracy.
Sharp turns can be made with the Circle button, while complex flight circuits are executed with a dainty tap of the right analogue stick. It's easy to pick-up and, importantly, it feels good. When you compare it to the complex schemes of HAWX 2 and its contemporaries, the game is instantly playable. Of course, it's a different type of experience, but there's something to be said for pick-up-and-play gameplay.
Flying through the game's tutorial we get to check out Sky Heroes whimsical interpretation of the world. The level has a bright spherical appearance to it, giving the impression of both speed and distance. We're tasked with a number of simple tasks — flying through some target rings, and shooting down a group of enemy planes with the R1 button. Dogfighting in Sky Heroes is enhanced by a number of powerups which can be picked up in Mario Kart like fashion. The default L1 weapon is two homing rockets — but upgrades provide you with access to shotguns, laser-beans and air mines.
It's fun stuff. The combat feels simple but satisfying, and we assume the dogfights will suck up a good portion of MySim's campaign.
Outside of the actually gameplay, MySims' main hook appears to be surround the game's creation tools. Here you'll be able to create unique characters and planes. The creation aspect seemed a little basic, but we were playing on demo code and we assume it opens up as you progress through the game's campaign.
In all, we like Sky Heroes' mechanics. It's cute, satisfying and accessible. Clearly the game skews towards a younger audience, but there does appear to be some cross-over. Hopefully the game's main campaign manages to carry the formula, as the combat could get a little familiar without some unique objectives.
Still, we reckon Sky Heroes might surprise a lot of people. It's unlikely to be a smash-hit, but it's not aiming to be. It's aiming for whimsical accessibility — and it seems to have both bases covered.