I approached writing this review with some haste and delay. You see, as a very open-minded gamer with a strong focus on indie games, it pains me when I come across a generally reasonably-reviewed indie game that I simply didn’t enjoy – even more-so if I have to review that game based on a free review key.
Skydive: Proximity Flight, developed by Gaijin Entertainment and released on the digital stores of the PlayStation 3/Xbox 360, is a skydiving game that sees you freefalling from the sky in a wingsuit in various game modes. It’s a somewhat unusual concept that really piqued my interest when I was contacted about it and watched the trailer, but I felt almost immediately disappointed when I actually handled the game.
Skydive opens with a kickass track on its menu (Second Life by TARSHA) and live-action footage of real skydiving in the background, presenting you with a couple of different game modes – the first and primary of which is simply titled ‘challenges’. After viewing a brief and confusing screen attempting to explain the awkward controls (more on that shortly), you’ll be presented with gameplay that is more-or-less those ‘fly through the ring’ levels that you’ve likely seen before in Superman 64/Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone/NiGHTS into Dreams, and I’d argue that it wasn’t enjoyable in any of those.
The scenery is gorgeous and probably the game’s highlight, but these 15 short levels probably won’t be able to hold your interest long. That, of course, is if you even manage to get past the game’s fiddly controls; on the PS3 version of the game the default control method is to use the SIXAXIS and various other buttons. I’ve never particularly enjoyed having to use the SIXAXIS in games as it’s never as accurate as games demand of it, so the first few levels were more stressful than they were enjoyable. Granted, you can change the game’s control methods, but this isn’t made spectacularly clear and although the alternatives aren’t great, the default method is certainly the worst.
Other than the freestyle mode, the only other mode is the Adrenaline Races. I can’t help but feel that the Adrenaline Races could have potentially made this game special if not for those danged controls. The races are very fast-paced and could have made for some tense multiplayer action (though it’s a pity there’s seemingly no local multiplayer) if I didn’t find myself crashing every five seconds. Crashing completely ruins the pace of the game, even with the ability to infinitely rewind time to repeatedly attempt fixing your mistake.
It’s a neat idea with pretty graphics that’s unfortunately executed poorly. With an awkward control scheme that’s difficult to look past, it’s almost impossible to recommend this short game at its £15.99 ($19.99) price-point to anyone that doesn’t either have an interest in skydiving or found the gameplay trailers exciting beforehand.