Ever wanted to try out an extreme sport but have been put off by the cost and other inconveniences? No worries, developers Gaijin Entertainment have brought the experience directly to the comfort of your own home with Skydive: Proximity Flight. Well, sort of.
Skydive: Proximity Flight promises to provide “the thrill of wingsuit flying in the safety of your living room” and what the game really offers isn’t too far off. Unfortunately for those new to the sport - which I presume is the vast majority of players - there is no real tutorial to send you off with a good start. You can select from a few different game modes: Challenges, Adrenaline Race, Freestyle and Friends’ Challenges. All of which are more or less self-explanatory.
Freestyle is recommended to familiarise yourself with the controls and special moves, but they’re all relatively simple with next to no learning curve involved. The left analogue stick will allow you to move your character around during flight and perform tricks when paired with holding down A. RT boosts your speed for a short period of time depending on how much energy you have stored up, and Y changes your camera angles. Other than this, Freestyle mode quickly becomes boring with no real purpose.
What sets Skydive: Proximity Flight apart from other games in the genre is its Xbox Kinect compatibility, and naturally wanting to take the most fulfilling experience away from my time with this title, I decided to give it a shot. Using Kinect merely changes the way in which you control the character, by this I mean there aren’t any extra modes, levels or challenges for you to take advantage of, but what it does provide is a whole new perspective on virtual Skydiving.
Much like playing with a controller, you can still perform tricks, though this time by using a sequence of body movements, making the feeling that much more satisfying. Tilting your arms from side to side will turn your character in different directions, and moving your torso back and forth will perform dives. Skydive uses the Kinect well, and offers an entertaining alternative if you feel the days of playing with a controller are coming to an end, however attempting this option in a small room or cluttered space will result in frustration and rage, as the Kinect will need to pick up movements clearly in order to make it enjoyable. Short bursts of gameplay are recommended in this mode, as you’ll soon find your arms getting tired just a few challenges in.
The Challenges mode is the most amusing of them all, and most likely the one you’ll be spending the most time in. You’ll be attempting to gain three stars on each level by operating a certain chain of tricks: 5 barrell rolls, 10 dive and spins, and so on. Furthermore you’ll also be tasked with flying a set amount of kilometres or successfully flying into a range of golden hoops in a similar style to Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed. There isn’t really a lot to say about the other game types, as the majority of the fun is contained in this mode, and I feel could be greatly expanded on.
Tasks range widely in difficulty, some incredibly simple and can be completed in just a few seconds, becoming slightly repetitive, others extremely difficult, and after several attempts I’m still yet to fly 9km without hitting the water in a fatal skydiving accident. Luckily for some you can access the level that comes after the one you’re struggling with, and go back to it at a later date.
The character you play as isn’t directly customisable, although there are a wide range of other divers to choose from. Each of them have different skills, and you’ll want to choose yours wisely in the Adrenaline Race mode where speed is an important attribute.
What really tops this title off are the beautiful and relaxing landscapes you’re given the chance to explore. Each level will place you in fascinating surroundings, some similar to others but all of them distinctive in their own way, whether it be higher mountains, fewer trees, vast lakes and so on. The soundtrack on the other hand, aims to raise the tension and make everything seem that little bit more dramatic, it fits well and finishes off the Skydiving experience nicely.
Skydive: Proximity Flight (Reviewed on Xbox 360)
This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.
Overall Skydive: Proximity Flight provides a new, entertaining and unfortunately sometimes repetitive way to hop on board with an extreme sport, incorporating the use of Xbox Kinect to heighten your flying experience, soar across beautiful landscapes and perform insane stunts all within the comfort of your own home.