Skydive: Proximity Flight

Posted On: 3/26/2014  Publisher: Topware Interactive

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Skydive: Proximity Flight is an adrenaline rush you can experience within the confines of your own home with no worries of splattering your body all over a mountain side either. Those are pretty important points to me in the terms of real life adventures. While I am fascinated by this extreme sport and what these crazy dudes do cruising along mountain sides at insane speeds I personally have no desire to experience it firsthand. So this game gives me the opportunity to live out the thrill without actually doing it.

This game seemed to slip onto XBLA with very little fanfare and itís actually a shame. For the price tag of $6.99 you get a pretty decent little racing game that looks good and controls well, using the controller at least. Kinect is a different story and while itís not terrible I personally think the game is much better sitting and playing with a controller. TopWare Interactive brings you some rugged regions to get your adrenaline rush on and they look pretty darn good.

The game as a whole looks pretty better than many games out there and doesnít really look like itís something thrown together. In fact, pair the visuals with the rocking soundtrack and you got a decent little game to invest some hours into. The character models look pretty real and for a real sense of adrenaline rush switch the camera to a view from what the flyer sees. Thatís pretty intense and actually a little too much for my taste. The sense of speed in the game is pretty fantastic and when you use your adrenaline boost you really feel like you are cruising at dangerous speeds. And I have to say that base jumping from a hot air balloon was a pretty cool visual as well. The visuals really give off the sense that you are actually flying through these environments.

 
 

Skydive offers up a few modes of play for you to play. There is the Challenges mode that offers up 43 different scenarios for you to complete from following a specific route to linking together multiple tricks. The Adrenaline Race offers up a four player race scenario where youíll take on the AI in a race down the mountain side. And finally Freestyle Mode allows you to set up specific conditions for a jump in any of the four locations such as weather, time of day and your Exit Point. There is also a Friends Challenge mode that allows you to compete in challenges created by friends of course.

Now I do want to touch on the Freestyle mode a little more. This mode was actually one of my favorite modes as it seemed to offer up a challenge and a sense of accomplishment. Again, you select the condition like time of day, starting point and region. Once you have selected these items you have certain score thresholds you must obtain in order to be successful. This isnít really a practice mode but itís more a mode to see how far you can go and how many points you can score. There are also special rings for you to fly through which greatly increase your score but they are in some difficult to reach areas so watch your angles. Here you can also create challenges for your friends to beat and vice versa. This is where most of my time was spent playing the game once I checked out the other modes. And here is a tip, be sure to deploy your parachute at the end and land perfectly for a great point bonus.

There are 14 different characters you can choose from when selecting your flyer. Some of the characters will be locked and youíll have to complete certain requirements to unlock them. Each character offers up a set of attributes which really does make a difference. Some of the characters are all about speed while others are more about maneuverability. Both attributes are affected by the characterís weight. And yes ladies, there are even female flyers including a young lady dressed up in a squirrel outfit.

 
 

Youíll have a handful of different regions youíll be jumping into in the freestyle mode and they have varying terrains and slope. Four of the regions go by specific names rather than real world locations. The first region I encountered was called Eagle Mountain. This region will have sharp cliff walls and reminds me a lot of say the Rocky Mountains or an alpine feel. Death Valley is basically a region similar to what you would see in the Grand Canyon. Monkey Gorge is a rain forest theme of sorts with lots of waterfalls, foliage and narrow pathways. And finally you have Ice Ridge which in essence is similar to what you would see in the great Alps. There are four other real life regions: Italy, Halong Bay, Grand Canyon, and Switzerland. What is really cool is how you can change the weather and time of day on each of the regions. Some of the visuals in all of these locations are quite stunning especially when standing at the starting point for your jump.

There are leaderboards for three different categories: Adrenaline Race, Freestyle, and Proximity Flight. The Adrenaline category displays the worldís times in each of the four race locations. The Freestyle category displays the total scores obtained by players from specific Exit points in each region. And finally the Proximity category displays score totals for Proximity flying.

So the game is pretty simple in concept. You jump from a starting location and try not to crash into the ground the entire flight. Controls are pretty basic using the controller. Youíll push up to dive, down to slow up and catch some air, move left and right. When you need to gain some speed youíll pull one of the triggers to initialize your adrenaline. This adrenaline is built up by flying in proximity to your surroundings as well as performing tricks. Youíll need to keep the adrenaline going as much as possible in order to obtain the fastest times and highest scores. If you crash you can always rewind the moment a bit and take a different angle or path. One of the really cool features is loading up a ghost from the leaderboard and racing against them.

 
 

Problems with the game? I really didnít experience too many issues. I do think the AI is a bit out of control and a bit like a rubber band. There were times when I was cruising along seventeen seconds faster than my previous time and they were still right on my butt. It makes it difficult to win the Adrenaline races. And I have to say my frustration level quickly exceeded my adrenaline level in those moments. I also wish there was multiplayer because this game would be so much fun to jump online with others. It would feel a lot like SSX Tricky in many regards. Online modes could include racing, stunt modes and more. Itís a market that this game should definitely be tapping into. There are also some visual moments when the adrenaline kicks in that I could see some weird blue and red shadows. It almost gave off the appearance of a 3D movie experience without the glasses. These moments were not detracting from the game though.

The game is pretty fun and something to pass the time. Itís probably not going to win any awards for game of the year and the content offered is fairly basic in gameplay and features. But if you can convince some friends to grab the game it could be fun battling out for spots on the leaderboards. As I stated, I do wish the game had multiplayer because I think more people would be interested. But overall, for $7 itís not a bad offering and definitely worth checking out. You can check out the game by downloading the free trial and see for yourself. I personally think the game is worth the price tag, but of course this entire article is only my opinion. Be the judge for yourself. My final overall thought? Itís a fun game and I look forward to playing it quite a bit or at least until I get all the achievements.

 
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