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Console-quality Multiplayer on the Go
It seems like the natural evolution of gaming that once you have a solid platform in place, the next step is finding a way to get people to play together, rather than against a virtual computer opponent. Well, if Skies of Glory is any indication as to where we're headed, the future is now.
Skies of Glory is an aerial combat game designed from the ground up for the iPhone. The game is presented in full 3D and controlled with the iPhone's accelerometers and tilt sensors. You fly a number of different planes, depending on your skill level and progression in the game, and can play a single-player adventure with full tutorial to start you out, or you can jump right into the main draw of the game: full online multiplayer.
When you log onto the online multiplayer portion of the game the name of your plane will correspond to the name of your iPhone or iPod Touch that you assign in iTunes, or a name you can pick yourself in the game's options menu. Once you're online and ready to fly you are placed into a live multiplayer battle with objectives ranging from destroying naval ships to destroying the enemy planes as quickly as possible. For the most part the online works seamlessly and only very rarely is there an instance of the game causing a plane to jump around the world in a jerky motion, but that's simply the nature of online gameplay.
It's all very impressive and perhaps the most astounding thing about it is that it is cross-platform with Android. Meaning that you can be matched up with other people playing the game live on either the iPhone platform or Android users. It's an amazing piece of technology that we can only hope spreads to other multiplayer games.
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Graphics, Audio and Verdict
Skies of Glory looks absolutely fantastic. There's really no other way to describe it. Planes are rendered beautifully and the level of detail in the textures of the water and other in-game objects is fantastically done. This is largely due to the fact that many of the battlefields include vast expanses of water or open desert, which is easy to render and requires very little geographical mapping. Still, it's an impressive feat, especially when you consider that it is being rendered live with several other players on the same battlefield.
A similar level of detail has been applied to the game's audio design. Clearly handled by a professional, the game's soundtrack includes epic scores even on the menus and fantastic sound effects like bullets whizzing by and your plane's windshield being riddled with bullet holes that make pleasant cracking sounds as they are applied.
Skies of Glory is made for the console crowd and delivers a similar experience to a game you'd expect to find on the Xbox Live Arcade or the PlayStation Network. You can level up, unlock new planes and items and play online with just a few clicks of the touchscreen. This is all highlighted by the fact that the game is essentially free to play. You can download the free version and play online to your heart's content. Of course, there are in-game purchasable items and unlocks that will further your experience, but like a drug dealer, the developer has seen fit to give you the first few hits for free. It's a brilliant strategy that pays off in Skies of Glory, making it a necessity for any serious iPhone or iPod Touch gamer.