The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces

8.5 Overall Score

Written by on February 18, 2010 in

Here’s a question for you: Is your Wii dusty?  Don’t remember the last time you turned it on?  Don’t think there are any good third party games on the system without having played Little King’s Story, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, Dead Space Extraction, or No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle?  Well, add another solid third party effort to that list as The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces from XSeed Games will probably be put on the list of good but overlooked games.

The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces, is based off an anime movie, The Sky Crawlers, which was based off a series of novels in Japan.  It’s the story of a group of dog-fighting pilots in a staged war sponsored by corporations.  If you’re not familiar with The Sky Crawlers, don’t worry.  As the game progresses, you’ll become familiar with the cast of characters very quickly.  The story is told through mission briefs before missions begin, conversations throughout the mission between all the pilots in your squad, cut scenes post-mission and fully animated anime shorts after some missions.  In Sky Crawlers, you play as the silent protagonist that goes by the codename Lynx (which will change to Cheetah as the story progresses).  You’re a hot shot pilot in the Cougar squad.  A fake war is being put on for show because the people of the world cannot get used to the idea of living in a peaceful world.

The game has 3 control methods, Wii+nunchunk, Wii Classic Controller, and Gamecube Controller.  I only played using Wii+nunchuck controls because they worked surprisingly well.  I admit to being skeptical when I saw that you control your plane using nunchuck motion controls (because the nunchuck has never been good at recognizing motion) but they worked really well in this game.  Sky Crawlers also has player’s holding the control in an unconventional way.  Instead of holding the nunchuck in your left hand and the Wii remote in your right hand, the controls are flipped with the nunchuck acting as the plane’s control stick.  It sounds weird but after playing through the tutorial, it’s easier than it sounds.  For those who have played Ace Combat games, the gameplay should be familiar because the game runs on that engine.

So, is the game fun?  For me, it’s a definite “YES!”  The story is interesting enough to keep players engaged but the story is not what the game excels in.  What the game excels in is dog-fighting because dog-fighting in planes is cool.  Your character and your squad will get into some pretty interesting scenarios ranging from saving fellow pilots, recon missions, blowing up specific targets, and one level, I remember, was to just “get my kill count up.”  Because the skies are so hectic and planes more so fast, shooting down planes would be really difficult if it weren’t for the awesomeness of Tactical Maneuver Commands (TMC).  When you’re near an enemy plane, a bar at the bottom of the screen fills up.  This bar has 3 levels and once it gets to level 1, you get access to a TMC.  By hitting the A button, your plane automatically goes through some insane aerial maneuvers to get directly behind the enemy which then makes it very easy to shoot the enemy down.  The higher the level, the closer you’ll be to the plane.  Getting a level 1 TMC is easy to acquire but still puts you far enough away for the plane to avoid you while a level 3 TMC is hard to obtain but once you get it, it’s essentially an automatic kill.  Also, when an enemy has you in their crosshairs, you can activate a defensive TMC by picking a direction on the analog stick and pressing A.  As the game progresses, new planes and new enhancements are unlocked.

Overall, The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces is a worthwhile playthrough.  The game has multiple difficulty levels so if normal is too easy, have a go at a harder difficulty.  Additional unlockables are obtained playing through on other difficulties (unfortunately, playing through on hard won’t unlock the items from normal and easy, you’d have to play through the game again).  It’s not likely to be a game of the year contender by year’s end but your dusty Wii needs some action, I suggest taking it to the skies.

The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces is rated T and is on store shelves now.  A copy of The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces was provided to The Married Gamers for purposes for our review and evaluation.

Married Gamers Grade: B+

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Author: Quantrell Toval View all posts by

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