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Posted by drew10 on Sep 28, 2010
Sky Fighter: Creat Studios/Tik Games – PSN

Sky Fighter: Creat Studios/Tik Games – PSN

Chocks away Chaps!

Ever wanted to be a fly-boy? You know those pilots that had all the glory from the first World War, those chaps that first took warfare into the skies? Yes those boys who had all the glitz, glamour and girls, well now is your chance.

Tik Games and Creat Studios bring you Sky Fighter on PSN. This side-scrolling WW1 air combat shooter is as manic as it is cute and certainly surprising. Playing as a pilot in the RAF you have command of various period flying machines from small nimble fighters to large lumbering bombers. Each have their own missions to complete and unique characteristics in control.

The first thing you will notice about Sky Fighter is how retro everything feels, the planes are small and the controls are straight out of the arcade of the early 80’s. Yes up means up and down is down, it is something that took us a while to get used to but obviously this can be changed in the options we just couldn’t be bothered! Yet there is more to this little game than the first impressions may suggest. The developers have not only managed to add some six-axis controls, but also the whole thing outputs in full 1080p.

Playing the game really does send you right back to those glorious days and certain parts remind me heavily of classics like Combat, Time Pilot and Wings. But likewise there are elements of Micro Machines and pirate game Overboard squeezed in there too. Yet Sky Fighter is its own animal and has lots to offer the player.

Missions range from basic dogfighting where you have to destroy the enemies fighters to bombing runs to destroy trains. You will also find yourself on escort duties protecting convoys or bombers from enemy planes. It is all pretty standard stuff but still no less fun to play.

As mentioned already controlling the planes takes a few goes to get the hang of and we found ourselves crashing into the ground a few times before mastering them. The ‘X’ button or R1 will fire your machine gun although the right stick will act as the rear mounted gun in a bomber. Square will turn your plane over which proves very handy on bombing runs as you often find yourself upside down. Bombs themselves are dropped by pressing the R2 button. L1 and L2 speed you up and slow you down respectively. Your weapons can be upgraded by collecting balloons that float around the screen from stuff that you blow up. However, these are few and far between.

Throughout the game you have a computer-controlled ‘wingman’ who basically flies alongside you and acts as a bullet magnet until is shot down almost immediately. Luckily as the levels become increasingly harder you can replace this flying target with a human controlled plane in ‘Wing Mode’. Yes two of you can take to the skies in any of the missions which really does make things easier. ‘Wing Mode’ generally works quite well and is a good bit of fun however the screen does not zoom in or out and fails to track the action particularly well and you will sometimes find yourself off the screen not knowing what has happened to your plane.

The games audio is basic at best with pretty standard plane sounds and gunfire. The sound of an SOS being tapped out on a Morse-code machine is a cool touch when you shoot down an enemy but overall not a great deal of audio wizardry on show. There are however, a couple of neat 1930-style music tracks that add to the feel and setting of the title.

While the single or co-op games are great fun and challenging, it is the multiplayer that really raises Sky Fighter’s stock. Okay so there is no online dogfighting action but it does offer eight yes eight-player local play. If you are lucky enough to own eight PS3 pads or have enough friends (Unlike us at G4A) then get eight people around the screen for some crazy dogfighting action. Not since the days of Micro Machines has a game offered this kind of multiplayer madness and it is a very welcome addition which will hopefully bring this kind of party gaming back to the masses.

Overall Sky Fighter is a tidy little package that looks good in an old-school way and well worth a look for those of us old enough to remember the titles I have likened it to. Perhaps a little limited in terms of variety but what it does it does competently. It is especially worth a purchase as a party game as this is where it really comes alive.

7/10

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