Nothing can quite compare to the feeling of going fast. Watching as the terrain flashes by you, miles seeming like mere inches as you fly through the air completely unobstructed… That is, until you crash into a tree. With Skydive: Proximity Flight, Gaijin Entertainment has brought you as close to the feeling of free-falling as you can get without putting yourself into any actual danger.
Starting out in Skydive: Proximity Flight is probably one of the more tedious aspects of the game. You’re introduced to the game through a series of menu options, none of which actually take you through a tutorial. Although it does take a little practice at the very beginning, the use of motion controls make the whole experience relatively intuitive. Pointing the controller down allows you to dive, while pulling it up makes the diver pull up, and so on. Where this game truly shines is in the terrains you are navigating as you dive. Whether you’re in the mountain ranges of Italy or in the beautiful tropics of Halong Bay, you legitimately feel as though you’re flying through the landscapes. The challenges tend to vary in location enough so that you never really feel like you’re in the same place too often. Even though it might seem to conflict with the whole idea of a game about skydiving, I found myself very much at ease throughout my time with this game just enjoying the view and allowing my diver to float through the air.
As far as sound goes, the Skydive: Proximity Flight provides exactly the right kinds of whooshes and flapping noises that will make you feel as though you’re flying through the Alps (or wherever you might be). The music throughout the levels is exactly what you’d expect it to be: hard rock brimming with guitar and drum solos in order to give you that extreme feeling that any sports game will try to give you. The music never gets tiring because it completely complements the experience of high speed diving. It also helps tremendously that whenever you’re doing anything particularly intense, the music is completely drowned out by rushes of air.
Floating and admiring the scenery is definitely an option in this game, but for thrill-seekers the wonder of this game lies in the challenges and tricks. The point system in Skydive: Proximity Flight rewards players for taking risks. If you dive as close to the terrain as possible, you gain proximity points. You’ll gain even more points if you’re brave enough to do backflips and barrel rolls near the terrain. There are also plenty of different terrain arrangements so that every experience feels unique. Unless you’re redoing the same challenge over and over again to try and get a perfect score, you’ll likely feel as though every challenge puts you in a new place. At the end of every challenge, you’ll receive a rating of 1-3 stars based on your performance, which constantly pushes you to do better and learn to maneuver more effectively.
In spite of its charm, Skydive: Proximity Flight does have a few issues. The challenges don’t take too long to complete, and a lot of them begin to feel repetitive after the first couple of batches. You can only fly through a set of rings so many times before you start to get bored. Also, although there is a racing mode, it requires a considerable level of mastery before you can feasibly compete with your virtual opponents. The races are initially confusing because there are few indicators as to where you should go. I often found myself wondering what direction I was supposed to be going in, only to fall into second place and realize that I had to be guided by the person in first place.
Skydive: Proximity Flight is clearly made to give players the ability to skydive without actually having to skydive. It succeeds in giving a great sense of speed and atmosphere, though there are a few problems holding it back from being a truly awesome game. At $19.99, it does seem a little steep unless you’ve been in the market for a skydiving simulator for quite awhile. Regardless of its issues though, Skydive: Proximity Flight is a good game for the adrenaline junkies in all of us.