MySims Sky Heroes
For: Xbox 360
Genre: Action, Family, Flying
ESRB Rating: N/A
MySims Sky Heroes
Looking at the box of MySims Sky Heroes pretty much spells out the essence of the game itself. It's EA's trademarked Sims characters gone caricature and kiddy, complete with over-sized noggins on undersized bodies and seated in scaled down planes of improbable bulbousness. And, of course, they all speak Simlish, which is not unlike gibberish and you'll think the game is broken for the first few minutes of unintelligible yammering. Tutorials, hints and the campaign "story" mode are spelled out in English, thankfully… less than fully thankfully is you're an 8 years old who can't read that fast…
Anyway, for all its novelty and forthright charm, MySims Sky Heroes is essentially a generic pipsqueak kart racing game where chortling fatheads go zipping around extravagantly surreal courses shooting at each other's tails, scooping up power-ups and lobbing one-timer smart bombs at each other if not dropping banana peel-like impediments behind them. Of course, instead of karts on a track you're flying toy planes in the sky - a sky so tightly circumscribed by an invisible barrier as to not be the wild blue yonder but an aeronautical playground in a snow globe. Confining, in a word. Then again, with a target audience of, what, 8-year olds? Well, no one's going to get lost, at least.
And while there is a "race" mode a la kart (ha ha) games, where speed is only the half of it, pegging off racers in the lead and dropping bombs out the tail on followers is the other half, MySims Sky Heroes has the decency to offer straight up dogfighting, which can be quite a bit of frantic fun if you've a second player or three (playing against computerized opponents is good practice but dull).
As it happens, the little snow globe worlds are unreservedly littered with pick-ups and power ups, so while gameplay does entail dogfighting, it's also an Easter Egg hunt on methamphetamines, a mad dash of a free-for-all except instead of eggs, you're scavenging shotguns and mega-ultra death rays. It's nuts. Mostly in a good way, though you can make a kid cry if you beat him to the power up once too often. Just sayin'.
Importantly, you don't really "fly" the planes in MySims Sky Heroes as you "shove them around" like neutrally buoyant rubber duckies that make pew-pew-pew noises. Again, nice and easy for the kiddies and neophytes.
There's a "boost" button that adds some screen blur and whooshing noises to intimate speed, and there's a brake button akin to dropping flaps for making really tight turns. But don't expect dogfights at the speed of Top Gun.
As it turns out, you'll need the time afforded by a slow-going ducky to get your bearings in your topsy-turvy snow globe if not a bead on an enemy that may or may not be a spec on the horizon, one absolutely dwarfed by the "helpful" little name tag and health meter hanging over its head, a tag so big and so out-of-scale that you can't help but focus on it and miss the enemy all together. That works both ways, of course.
In fact, that it's very slow going at the start is a good thing, because areo-kart racing on the x, y and z axis can get disorientating - and only gets less slow after you put some time into upgrading your ride with points awarded for a good race or dogfight.
As you're flying with the left thumbstick, shooting guns with the right trigger and launching missiles with the left, the right stick can be flicked to activate tricks like barrel rolls and backflips - great looking stunts that don't really work as evasive maneuvers, but whatever, the kids love it.
Speaking of which, there's quite a bit of hanger-based tinkering and fiddling available, too, from character customization to apparel and paints jobs and what not. One top of that is the expected slew of mini game modes and skills drills. Wholesome stuff and pleasantly distracting, the lot of it. No Easter Egg meth, either.
So in the end, MySim Sky Heroes is good - really good when you consider the targeted audience the game is meant to endear: grade-school kids and maybe their parents, together.