Game Review: The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces (Wii)

SKY_BOXThe Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces is an arcade dogfight simulation game for the Wii. It’s also based on a Japanese anime cartoon movie. The film is set in an alternate reality where there are no wars, so companies stage fake battles to keep the peace. A new breed of pilots is now being used to fly the planes: genetically engineered kids who never age. Yeah it doesn’t make any sense to me either. But hey, neither do most other anime cartoons. All you really need to know is that the team behind Namco Bandai’s Ace Combat series worked on this game, so this is essentially Ace Combat on the Wii. And trust me, that’s a GOOD thing!


Complete over a dozen dogfight missions to advance the story along. Perform well and earn points for more planes, upgraded parts, and new sub-weapons. You can also replay completed missions to try and beat your best score and times.

Even though it’s a lot like Ace Combat, you can control the planes in a whole new way with the Wii remote and nunchuck. You steer the planes with the nunchuck, and pull up the remote like a throttle to speed up. It’s not quite as realistic as a flight stick, and a little sensitive at times. But after a couple of missions it became second nature to me and was really fun to control the planes this way. But if you want a more traditional gaming experience, The Sky Crawlers is also compatible with the GameCube and Classic Controllers, and they work great, too.

One aspect of the controls that I really liked was pulling off Tactical Maneuver Commands (TMC). When you target an enemy, you’ll see a yellow ring around them in the radar. Fly inside that yellow ring for a certain amount of time and a meter will fill up. Then you can press a button and your plane will do a really cool move and get right behind the enemy for you to shoot down quick and easy. These TMCs are really fun and easy to do. You can also choose other cool manual maneuvers to shake off chasing planes by pressing the stick in one of eight directions and a button at the same time.

My younger brothers are HUGE Ace Combat fans. When brother Jeff watched me play The Sky Crawlers, he jokingly called it ‘Baby Ace Combat’ because of the simpler visuals, brighter cartoon graphics, and lighter storyline (it is based on an anime after all). But Jeff also said The Sky Crawlers was a keeper, and he’s looking forward to playing it all the way through. The background music is definitely top notch, though. It sounds like it was written by my favorite video game music composer: Go Shiina, but I didn’t see his name in the credits. But regardless, the music is really good.

Best of all, with multiple control options for beginners and experts, as well as selectable difficulty levels, The Sky Crawlers is great for novices as well as Ace Combat veterans. Even I enjoyed it, and I usually don’t like flight combat simulators. Even the more arcadey Ace Combat games feel a bit daunting to me. But not this one. So if you want a fun arcade flight combat game for the Wii, The Sky Crawlers is a good pick.


Kid Factor:

The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces is rated T for Teen with ESRB descriptors of Mild Language and Violence. You do shoot down exploding planes, but there are no grisly death scenes or anything. I haven’t heard any bad language in the story yet, so it must be used very sparingly. Reading skill is helpful, but not required, as all the instructions and text are followed by spoken voice. Even though it’s rated T, I’d be OK with any kid playing this game, as long as they can handle the slightly more complex controls and dealings in 3-D space. The intuitive controls, easy to understand tutorials, and selectable difficulty levels are great for young pilots, too.

One Response to “Game Review: The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces (Wii)”

  1. Hey GamerDad, if you’re reading this review, I just wanted to send you a message to say that I think you’d like this game. It’s not a WWI flight combat game, but the planes are fantasy prop planes, so you might like that. Also, since the missions and flight controls are a little simpler, this might be a game you could play with Henry and Maggie if they’re interested. Kind of a step up from Snoopy vs. The Red Baron (another good flight game). —Cary

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