Skydive: Proximity Flight is an interesting game, and one that admittedly took me by surprise. Not only did the game’s concept turn out to be more than I imagined, it was also able to pull off an incredibly well integrated use of the DualShock 3’s motion controls (yeah, remember that feature?). Developed by indie company Gaijin Entertainment, Skydive pits you against various different challenges as you go flying through the air within a variety of beautifully realised locales in your
trusty wing suit. While containing the sheer excitement as you fly at blistering speeds like SSX on steroids, this title also hits plenty of turbulence along the way, disappointing in many areas resulting in a dive-bomb straight to the floor.
By default the game plays through the motion controls of either the Dualshock controller, or the Playstation Move peripheral. Both inputs work just as well as each other and are both very nicely implemented, providing very accurate results despite the furious speed of the game. While in flight the player is moved left and right through tilting the pad respectively, and the player dives by none other than tilting the pad downwards. The controls here are instinctive and as a result work exceedingly well from the beginning. Upon entering this game I was very doubtful about this control input, but I was relieved to find how accurate and responsive it was, even when wanting to make subtle movements. After only a couple of challenges the player will have mastered the controls and will be more than capable of achieving high scores in each challenge. For those few who don’t feel up to this control method, there is the option to use the conventional left analog stick, though this does strip the game of some of its fun and appeal. Lending further to the way it controls, the game gives you the option to pick which character you want to play as with each one bearing different stats (weight, speed, manoeuvrability) that affect the player’s performance considerably.
On top of the movement controls players are also able to carry out tricks such as barrel rolls, frontflips and backflips just by holding down the ‘X’ button and tilting in different directions. Like with the main player movement, this system is simple and doesn’t disrupt the flow of play. Not only do the tricks build up extra score, it also contributes towards adrenaline, an ability that boosts players speed and builds up more air. While this concept shatters the somewhat realistic nature of the game, it enhances the competitive side of things and allows players to recover should they be nearing their doom.
There are 40+ challenges that form the majority of Skydive’s content and these consist of route challenges, trick challenges and competitive races against AI controlled players. Sadly, this is where Skydives biggest problem comes from; it’s very distinct lack of fun challenges. Despite the solid flight mechanics the game fails to do anything particularly interesting with them, rendering most of the games content feeling stale, mostly that of the trick challenges. The game begins with a series of path following tasks which despite being fun to begin with, become tiresome after the first couple you complete. The trick based challenges never really take-off (excuse the pun) and feel like a cheap set of challenges tacked onto the end product to pad it out. They never really take much longer than 20 seconds to complete, and never evoke any form of excitement, feeling unnecessary and like a task themselves to actually power through. Thankfully though there is some considerable fun to be had in this title in the form of the races. These last a couple of minutes and do take a few turns each to successfully complete and master. Various different routes can be taken in these very well designed levels too, opening up many different options for the player. If any single aspect of this game is worth the price of admittance, it’s these sections. It’s a shame then that only four of these races do exist, which is shocking considering how vastly superior they are to any other challenge in the game.
With its roots deeply set in the arcade genre, the game constantly encourages competitiveness in taking up the traditional 3-star scoring system found in most arcade games, rewarding players with a star rating dependent upon a series of variables based off your performance. These largely stay the same across all challenges with a few changes here and there to suit the current objectives. While it is unfortunately easy to achieve the 3-star rank on most challenges, there is at least the chance to better your high-score and the leaderboard high-scores in each challenge. That said however, the game fails to really motivate the player to become competitive, with only those who love the game feeling the need to do so. If the challenges were more enjoyable and had more to them than simple objectives I would be inclined to achieve a higher score, this however is not the case. As a result this means that the remaining ‘Freestyle’ game mode is largely left untouched, as without this need to compete, there is no point in playing it.
Skydive is a perfect example of a flawed gem, a game so caught up in the middle of being a great game and a bad one, that it’s painful. The motion controls are solid throughout, the level design consistently interesting, and the races exciting, it’s just such a shame that the game is so crippled by a significant lack of interesting content and longevity, a real deal breaker for an arcade game such as this. I really hope the developers return to this idea and release a sequel with a whole wealth of content, and a far bigger focus on the racing aspect. There is just so much potential lying there, and I would hate for it to go to waste.
- Motion controls work extremely well.
- Beautiful locales.
- Interesting level design.
- Races are very fun…
- …but there are not enough of them.
- Too much boring content.
- Little to non replayability.
- Lack of motivation to become competitive.
- The price tag isn’t worth it for such low amounts of content.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.