Genre: Combat, Flying
ESRB Rating: Teen (13+)
One of the better-realized flight and dogfight games available on Wii, Codemaster's Heatseeker is accessible to generic action buffs as well modestly satisfying for flight sim fans (though it's not a exactly a "flight simulator" by aficionado standards). Its "arcade" mode basically sets your plane to righting itself while "professional" mode gives total control over your wild-blue-yonder orientation.
For the most part, Heatseeker throws you into a variety of modern day scenarios and has you flying a variety of strike fighter craft, controlled using both the Wii-mote and nunchuck attachment, set up so that one hand guides the fighter simply by pointing where you want to go on screen, mouse and cursor-style, while also rotating and gyrating the thing to effect pitch and roll. The opposing hand handles other tasks like firing and throttle, depending on how you set it up (there are three controller layouts to choose from). It's a sensitive interface requiring a steady hand and subtle movements -- no worries about accidentally breaking the chandelier with a flying Wii-mote – but can prove sluggish when making low-lying strafing runs. Pull up now! No? Okay, how about now?!
Gameplay is all about modern warfare, where fighters are computer-assisted to the max, and guided missiles, heat-seeking or otherwise, are all the rage. Thus, while it's fairly easy to draw a bead on an enemy thanks to an emulated rudder found in the cursor/reticule aimer thingy, it's hard to hold that bead while careening around in the sky, but all it takes is a couple of seconds for the computer to get a lock on a bad guy and then you let fly with a missile or two, set-it-and-forget-it style. Even more rewarding is the Hollywood-esque "impact cam" that gives you a momentary missile-eye-view and/or a quick cut scene to the explosive death throes of thine enemy. Most satisfying.
Sadly, that's about all there is too it; fly around and blow stuff up. Graphics are serviceable but scream "last generation" with washed out colors and serious lack of shapeliness.
Still, at this stage of the game, there aren't too many dogfighting titles on Wii – just two, to date – so Heatseeker is at least novel and mostly fun despite its shortcomings.