Developer: Digital Reality
Publisher: Digital Reality Publishing
Platforms: Xbox LIVE®Arcade, PlayStation®Network
Genre: Aerial Combat Arcade Racer
Rating: ‘T’ for Teen
Launch Date: Worldwide on September 7th (PSN/XBLA)
Price: 1200 MSFT Points/$14.99
SkyDrift does a great job of proving that you don’t need a triple-A budget, or even be distributed through retail to be a great game.
I went into the game thinking it would be a beautiful (based on screenshots), but simplistic flight combat game. How wrong I was. SkyDrift is as deep and good-looking as any MotorStorm entry, which obviously served as a bit of an inspiration. The environments are lush and very detailed, levels collapse around you on the final lap, and the controls are tight. It’s easy to get caught up gazing at the scenery, only to get blown up by a missile or crash into a wall. The environments are well varied, featuring gorgeous locales such as tropical islands, a volcano, an iced-over landscape, and more.
You’ll pick one of 8 customizable planes and fly at breakneck speeds, twisting and turning through a living, shifting, beautiful obstacle course, all the while avoiding mines, missiles and gunfire raining down upon you. Every round of SkyDrift successfully gets your heart pumping. The combat system is great. You can pick up two power-ups at a time, and if you pick up a second of the same power-up, you will make it stronger. You can also trade in one or both of your power-ups as you make your way towards the home stretch to outrun your opponents.
There are a few different modes in the game. You can play the standard Power Race mode, which is a race infused with combat. There’s also Speed Race, where you fly through rings which boost your speed to insane levels, as you try to not only speed past your opponents but also avoid crashing into the many obstacles. Survival mode is very reminiscent of a similar MotorStorm mode, where you need to stay ahead of the pack, as every minute the unfortunate person in last is blown to smithereens. This keeps going until only one player remains. There’s also a very fun, 8- player online mode. The online runs great, however there are no bots, and you will be forced to wait for 8 players to join your match, which can take a long time.
You can unlock up to 8 planes, each with 4 unlockable skins. There’s also a built in reward system, featuring numerous badges and medals, alongside 12 unlockable Trophies and Achievements.
SkyDrift is a great accomplishment, and proof that even the smaller developers can take on the likes of a big budget production like MotorStorm. I can’t wait to see if developer Digital Reality makes a sequel. It oozes pure adrenaline, plays wonderfully and the astounding visuals will make anyone’s head turn when displayed on an HDTV. If you are a MotorStorm fan or just a fan of the genre, be sure to pick this game up.