The game mixes its powered-up racing with hectic dog-fights, but it fails to offer much beyond. The plot draws out the formula to extortionately repetitive lengths — but that's not a fault of the gameplay, more EA's failure to change up the rules.
It's in multiplayer that Sky Heroes is able to shine. Either locally or online (though we suspect the most fun will come from couch sessions), MySims becomes a competitive affair that manages to bridge the child vs parent video game divide. Because the game's so simple to jump into, virtually anyone able to hold a controller can enjoy it.
MySims: Sky Heroes' main single-player campaign lasts about six hours, but it's the multiplayer component that most players will return to.
Considering the flight-combat genre is considered particularly hardcore, EA's done an amazing job making a family friendly game rooted in a similar concept. Movement is silky smooth, with simple trigger commands handling standard machine gunning and missile fire. The game uses a hearty amount of motion blur to convey speed while the acceleration button is pressed — an effect aided by the game's relatively smooth frame-rate. Aiming and movement is handled by the left-stick, while the right-stick is reserved for fancy (but somewhat useless) evasion techniques.
There's plenty of map variation in MySims, each lovingly designed with stand-out features and bright colours. Key to MySims' presentation is the snow-globe like effect that makes it feel like you're zooming around a spherical landscape. The maps can get claustrophobic, but that's only to make the Dogfights feel more intense and hectic. It could be argued that there's a lack of visual clarity, but MySims use of strong bold colours makes for an attractive design technique.
Most exciting in multiplayer, Sky Heroes' dogfights are the most important element of the package. The speed at which the battles take place are exhausting, but due to the simple controls the gameplay is accessible rather than punishing. The rush to collect power-ups and keep targets within sight is hectic - enforced by the game's busy presentation. It's an exciting and competitive mode, though substantially muted in single-player.
Pivotal to any experience with "Sims" in the title, Sky Heroes has a robust character and plane creation mode that brings artistic endeavour into the experience. It's simple stuff, but it's certain to keep the target audience occupied.
Sky Heroes' single-player campaign is essentially an excuse for a sequence of race and dogfighting events. In concept its fine, but its delivery is so agonisingly slow that it's hard to imagine anyone sitting through the lines of text and irritating Simlish. Sure, there are some funny quips in there, but the whole things far too drawn-out to hold the attention of players through to its conclusion. Further that, Sky Heroes gameplay fails to develop throughout the campaign - making it repetitive, long and not particularly enjoyable.
Aside from the dogfighting, Sky Heroes' main gameplay hook is sky-bound racing. Unfortunately rubber-band AI kills any skill that may have been required to complete these events; placing the same character in first no matter how many times their ship has been destroyed. The same design kills the challenge — we noticed ships slow down so we could grab a podium place on the final home straight. In concept "Mario Kart in the sky" sounds like a fun idea, but the execution is all wrong in Sky Heroes.
Sky Heroes is very much a one-trick pony, and no matter how accessible its core gameplay mechanics are, its unlikely to hold even younger children's attention for too long. What's in the package is certainly fun, but there's not enough variety to keep it in the console as long as competing "family" titles.
There's a pleasing nature to the way MySims: Sky Heroes tackles a complex video game genre and makes it instantly accessible; but enjoyable dog-fighting aside, the game fails to develop across the sum of its lengthy campaign. Kids are certain to get a blast out of the game's hectic nature; factor in multiplayer and its certain to be an after-school smash-hit. Just don't expect the game to keep them occupied for too long.