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Arcade Review: Skydrift


Xbox Live Arcade Games

1200 MS Points

Website

Xbox Live Marketplace Page

Developer- Digital Reality

Twitter

By: Daizoren

Flying it’s way into the Xbox Live Arcade category, Skydrift hopes to catch the appeal of flight simulator afficianados as well as Mario cart enthusiasts with it’s fast paced action, power up scheme and inverted flight controls. Does it end up soaring above and beyond or does it lead to a disappointment?

Graphics

From the detail of the planes themselves to the flow of the water in the ocean and the destruction of the environments as the races lead on, the beauty of Skydrift is apparent from the first moment you load up the game. Each plane has it’s own specific design and each one also has unlockable skins to change up the appearance of the plane to your personal preference. Each plane is well shaded, textured and realistic enough to invoke the player into thinking they’re piloting a real plane. The use of Boost gives a great sense of speed, blurring the view and showing the power of the jet engines.

Every environment is welcoming and delightful, bringing different kinds of experiences to each race. While the number of maps isn’t great, the way the game changes up each of them by reversing them and having different types of games makes each level seem fresh and inviting. Each map has it’s own destruction as well, however these don’t usually come into play until the second or third lap of each race, but they keep the entire thing exciting, as well as enticing. You may not be able to choose when the destruction occurs, like in Split/Second, but the game does a great job of knowing when to invoke an explosion or destroy a dam at the moment that makes the race more enjoyable.

Gameplay

Unless you’re not a fan of inverted controls (Which most people aren’t according to studies), this game controls wonderfully. The dual stick layout takes some time to get used to, but once acclimated, it’s a great control scheme. Navigating your way through every tightly knit space lends itself to being quite a great feeling of accomplishment. Manauevering your place vertically through thin slivers of geometry in order to pick up a specific power up feels satisfying and instantly gratifying.

The game is very reminiscent of Blur, but with airplanes. You’ll be able to pick up two power ups to use at a time and picking up the same powerup twice results in having a more powerful version of that particular power up. Ranging from machine guns and missiles to defensive items such as shields and mines, Skydrift has a perfect blend for smart gaming. Being able to weave around obstacles, mines and other players while gunning them down and protecting your own plane leads to fast paced gameplay and a sense of accomplishment when crossing the finish line.

Online gameplay is the same you’ll find offline, where you can compete against other players across the world in a race or more of speed, power ups, or a combination of the two. It’s nothing very different from the offline mode, but be weary of playing against players who have faster and stronger planes already unlocked, as it may lead to losing by a gigantic margin.

Sound

The music in Skydrift is heart racing and pumping. It gets the adrenaline ready to roll and you feel like you’re going to do better just from listening to it. Those last few moments where first place is inches away and the finish line is in sight, the music does a great job of speeding up the heart rate and feeding into the adrenaline to allow for over taking your opponent and winning the race.

The announcer has an accent that actually lends itself to help Skydrift stand out from other competitors. While sometimes dull, it’s an interesting voice to listen to and seems to have been a good choice for this title. The sounds of the planes, the explosions and the environment as a whole is deep, full and resounding. Every bullet of gunfire feels real and heavy while each explosion invokes fear that it was nearby or a mountain collapsing onto the race track.

Achievements

Getting all 200 gamerscore for this title will be a little tough, but not impossible. About half of the achievements are obtained just by completing the single player campaign. The rest of the achievements can be taken care of by going back through some of the previous races, playing the game everyday for a week and completing multiplayer events. All in all, this should be a relatively easy game to complete.

Replay Value

From the moment the first race is finished to the moment the campaign is complete, putting this game down is a tough challenge and it will have players begging for more because of it’s raw appeal. It’s easy to pick up and near impossible to put back down. It’s a title that allows for quick races and short bursts of gameplay for the gamer that doesn’t have a whole lot of time.

Recap

Pros

  • Beautiful Graphics
  • Smooth, Easy Gameplay
  • Pick-up and Play
  • High Replay Value

Cons

  • Minor Lack in Variety
  • Minor Lack in Levels
  • Lack of Multiplayer Individuality

Skydrift is one of the more entertaining flight games out today and it’s ability to brand itself as such an innovative game and as one that hasn’t really been done to this degree sets it apart from the other games that are being released over on the Xbox Live Arcade Marketplace. As a 1200 MS point game, it’s one of the higher priced games you can get, but it’s worth it for the entertaining races that will be occurring once purchased.

Graphics – 9.25

Gameplay – 9.00

Sound – 8.50

Achievements – 8.50

Replay Value – 9.50

Overall – 8.95


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