You'll believe a man can fly!
There can't be too many games where the aim of it is to voluntarily throw yourself off a cliff and try and imitate a bird. Wearing some sort of high tech body suit, which I think is called a Bat Wing (I could be wrong here) you will soar (hopefully) through the air, flying through hoops, performing stunts whilst defying gravity, and you'll get bonus points if you can do this whilst, (somewhat paradoxically) getting as close to the ground as possible.
Obviously the idea is to fly as close to the ground without actually planting yourself into it or by flying as close to cliff walls as possible without bouncing off them. Do either and it's game over man, it's game over.
You can unlock various characters as you progress, including a Dracula (No don't know if he is a vampire) each of which brings something different to the game. Some will have more stamina than others (will mention more on that in a minute or two), others will have more speed.
Your choice isn't that crucial in the solo game mode but in team racing, it's something that should be considered. Stamina provides a speed boost that is triggered by pressing L1 on the control pad, and performing stunts (barrel rolls, etc) will gain you extra points as well as rebuild your stamina bar. Extra points can be earned by flying under stone arches, through narrow ravines, and skimming the treetops.
You can also score points and amass a star rating, to unlock the next level, another character, etc. But hang on, I know what you are now thinking: He's forgotten to tell us about the plot. Well what you have just read IS the plot. Pure and simple, open a location and throw yourself off into the wild blue yonder.
So this isn't going to be the longest review in the world...
And that's because it's not the longest game in the world either. There does not seem to be any DLC on offer either to extend the game in any way. There are just over 10 levels of action and apart from online racing that's it.
Right then, what about controlling your little flyer? There are two methods of doing this, you can use the controller or the Playstation Move wands. Now one is quite simple to use but the other is a mite sensitive to say the least.
The controller is the simplest way and by far the best. Left stick moves the character, the right stick alters elevation and pitch. The buttons don't do much for you, and if you want too you can use the d-pad instead of the left stick to steer through the air.
L1 triggers the nitro boost that give you extra oomph if you are lagging behind.
Be aware that it's not exactly a Need for Speed Nitrous burst, but it can be of use to you, providing that you can get ahead of the pack. Now this is a tough job to do against the A.I. controlled players it has to be said. They of course know any short cuts to aid them, so I found it quite useful to race the same tracks (as it were) but deliberately come last so you can observe what the others do.
Online players also know the shortcuts but finding a race online is darned tricky. Lobbies seem quiet and that's a shame because multiplayer is by far the best mode on offer.
Now we focus on the second control method and that's via the Move Wands. The left wand replaces the left stick for moving and the right for elevation and descent. But and this is a BIG but, these are incredibly sensitive and take some mastering. I tried this mode but to be honest for me, the pad is the way to go as far as I am concerned. The wands are way too sensitive, the slightest accidental twitch can send you caroming into a canyon wall or taking a bone crunching nose dive. No doubt somebody out there has already mastered the wands, if you have not then I wish you luck in learning how to do so! Twisting the right or left wand means you can make barrel rolls and some brave souls have been witnessed by me doing loop the loops, something I have not mastered.
Oh and at the end of the run, a press of the O button opens a parachute for a nice gentle landing which is what you are looking for to round off a race and score a nice bonus.
The Break Down...
Everything reacts as you would expect, the flying suit ripples as it cuts through the air. The player moves smoothly enough and is nicely animated. Dust will fly into the air as you hit the ground and although not rag doll physics the impacts will make you wince.
The soundtrack is quite lively, gentle rock for the most part and suits the mood well. Ambient sound effects include the wind whistling as you cut through the air, and a nice and cringe inducing crunch if you hit the ground. They are up too the task, 'nuff said.
None to speak of. Move on...
Challenging & different and provides a nice distraction from the usual racing fare out there. It can provide amusement and multiplayer is quite good fun. It's not that expensive to buy either and won't take up much room on your hard drive. Little or no lag in multiplayer.
Too short and soon the action becomes too repetitive. Wand controls are WAY too sensitive and are nigh impossible to use, but maybe that's just me. Multiplayer lobbies are normally empty so the most fun mode is very rarely open too you which is a shame.
Occasional lag may mar the online experience and there is some pop up in long distance scenery. Collision detection is also a little hit and miss I feel. Replay value is there if you want to unlock the different tracks and stunt challenges on offer, but there is not much more to tempt you back once you have completed the game. I'm sorry to say this will have a limited 'shelf life'
It isn't bad, but it's not perfect and it's appeal becomes limited as you progress sadly. This could have been something really special and different. It's different yes, but really special? No I'm afraid not. Replay value is limited and it needs something to give it that extra oomph of other extreme sports sims.
Not a bad effort in some ways but it fails in others to soar too the heights it could have achieved with a little more effort.