The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces (2010)

Hi all, Nate here with another review of a flying game for my son's Wii. Sky Crawlers is apparently based on some Japanese manga/anime that I've never heard of/seen, about some band of handsome young mercenary fighter pilots in some alternate history dystopian fuckstorm, I don't care. The back of the box says that you can fly around and blow shit up like zeppelins and watertowers and castles and shit, while flying in a variety of weird alt-history airplane designs that look like they came from some basement-dwelling Gundam fan's fever dream.

Like this one, I guess.

That's all fabulous, I'm sure, a game filled with exciting adventures and thrilling combat in a unique setting. Unfortunately I cannot get past the third fucking level because of the shitty control setup! In every other flying game I've played for the Wii, you use the Nunchuk for the actual flying part and the Miimote for auxiliary functions or for shooting. The toggle ball on the Nunchuk is PERFECT for 3-D turning and diving an airplane, and it's perfectly logical that you'd use it to go faster or slower by just pushing it either up or down. All your flight controls are in one place, 99% of your control is done with one hand/thumb. The Nunchuk also has built-in firing buttons that mimic a real flightstick's triggers, it really is a fantastic motion-controlled system in every way.

Allegedly what you could do in the game.

But, grrrrr..., the drunk-on-sake motherfuckers who designed this game (who can all die in a fire) threw all that out. First they decided that you speed up or down by tilting the Wiimote up or down, which makes no damn sense and gives you zero feedback about how much or little you are changing your speed in the game. They then took away the toggle function on the Nunchuck and now you steer your plane by physically rotating it in your hand left or right, which feels completely unnatural in every way and gives you carpal tunnel syndrome in 10 minutes. As a result, I simply cannot fly these goddamn planes, let alone try and shoot down those tiny little fucking pixel dots that represent enemy planes flying at insanely crazy angles and speeds.

The first level took me a dozen tries to beat, and it's just a simple tutorial level. The second and third levels were maddeningly frustrating because I just couldn't get my fucking plane to do anything other than slowly, glacially, roll slightly to the side while the enemy fighters zipped past me guns blazing. The couple of times I actually managed to hit a target I did so by pure accident or just by randomly spraying bullets across the sky in futile rage as my broke-ass plane struggled to move 1 degree off center. Maybe once you progress and unlock new planes and new upgrades it becomes easier to control them, but after four days fighting to do anything other than wallow about the clouds like a pregnant humpback whale overdosing on Ambien I emphatically said Fuck It and stopped trying. I'm too old and too tired to deal with this low-rent ghetto shit.

Suck my dick, Sky Crawlers.

The End.

Written in July 2016 by Nathan Decker.

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