Saturday, March 17, 2012

New Competition - Sky Gamblers Air Supremacy. How does it compare to MSWM?

As many of you know, a new dogfighting game has recently been released named Sky Gambler Air Supremacy.   I am without a doubt a MSWM fan as I've shown with this site, but I am also a big fan of dogfighting and flight sim games in general, and I believe that most of you readers are too.  As such, I felt obligated to take a look at this new challenger and see if it is as good as it has been advertised to be.  I was torn about doing this though - what if I give it a great review - than many might stop playing MSWM and stop visiting this site!  I thought about it and decided, screw it, the truth deserves to be told either way.  I will try to give an objective review here as to how it compares to MSWM. 

First of all, this is not Sky Gamblers first dogfighting game - a few months ago they released Sky Gambler Rise of Glory.  I bought this game for $2 or $3.  All-in-all, I was underwhelmed by the game.  It was more of a WWI biplane dogfighting game.  Gameplay and graphics were mediocre in my opinion.  Air Supremacy, however, looks like a much grander effort from this company (BANDAI NAMCO).

Cost:  Unlike MSWM, this is not a free game.  Cost for Sky Gambler Air Supremacy is $4.99 on the App Store, but on the other hand, I have not yet found any in-app purchase options, so in the long run it may be a better deal than the "fremium" approach of MSWM.

Lets start with the graphics and terrain detail.  I hate to say it, but Air Supremacy blows MSWM out of the water in this department.  Visual detail is stunning.  Maps seem almost endless with a variety of desert, city, arctic, jungle, ocean & harbor terrains (from what I could see there are about 5 overall maps available).  The rendering is a generation above MSWM.  There is also weather: haze, rain, flying through clouds.  The rain and clouds are especially amazing - very realistic flying thru clouds with rain drops hitting cockpit glass.  Opponents also start to smoke when damaged and explosions are more realistic with planes flying apart into pieces when blown up.  Flying thru the skyscrapers is also an adventure.  Enough of my talk though, take a look for yourself:

Graphics Verdict:  No contest - SGAC takes it

Fly among the skyscrapers is pretty cool

Amazing level of detail, many buildings, trees, lighthouses, ships...

You can see each branch of the palm trees as you buzz over them

Sky Gamblers water texture is unique - MSWM looks more realistic to me but SGAS is interesting

Game Types:
Sky Gamblers Air Supremacy (SGAS) definitely has more varieties of ways to play than MSWM. Game types are as follows:
Campaigns:  There are 10 campaigns (that I could see).   
Dogfight Missions:  You can choose from 100 (yes 100) "Missions" to dogfight in.  Most of the missions are locked for a beginner and assume that you work your way up thru them.
Survival Mode
Free For All
Team Deathmatch
Capture the Flag
Defend the Base

Not clear on the details on all these game modes yet, but needless to say, there is alot of variety here and features that I've been wishing MSWM would add for a long time. 

You also have the option to play against opponents online or against local opponents on your wifi network which is a nice feature.  There are game rooms, options for private matches, etc...   I have found that you may get a "waiting for players" message for some of the rooms (as expected with such a new game). 

Game Type Verdict:  Advantage SGAS.  Many more types of game play.

10 Campaigns to pick from
Alot of Game Types to Pick From

Flight Controls:
SGAS has more advanced and realistic flight controls than MSWM.  In "Simulation Mode" you have both yaw and roll control (tilt left/right for roll and there is a separate control stick on the bottom left of the screen that controls yaw and thrust (yaw left right on stick, thrust up/down).  Unlike MSWM, if you don't maintain thrust, you can stall, similar to a real plane.  Also, if you perform too sharp of a turn you can "black out" and the screen will actually become black for a short amount of time.   There are also more advanced swiping maneuvers.  Swipe screen left/right causes you to do a sharp left or right turn.  You can single swipe up/down or double swipe up/down for a variety of direction changes (maneuvers named cobra, herbst, 180...).  You also have the option to eject from the plane.  Didn't see any roll maneuvers like in MSWM.

You can also view the flight from multiple locations, from within cockpit or outside of cockpit (like MSWM).

Also, there are different control modes - you can set beginner or more advanced flight control as seen below:

The "Casual Accelerometer" mode is much more like MSWM and will seem more familiar and easier to use if you are a MSWM player.  I find this mode much easier and more enjoyable to use - the Simulator Mode tends to be more chaotic and harder to control as a beginner. 

Flight Controls Verdict:  It depends - if you like simpler flight controls then you'll like MSWM.  If you like more advanced flight controls, you'll like SGAS which has more variety and detailed control.

SGAC Control Settings

Plane Types and Specs:
SGAC has15 planes to pick from (including prop planes?!) and each plane is available in 3 versions (usually same name with a letter added such as RFJ20A).  These planes are all locked however and it appears that you have to earn your way up to get more planes, even the lettered version of the same plane (they appear to be unlocked as you play more and pass thru levels).    As far as performance specs for the planes, it looks like there are only 5 specs per plane (much less than the ~25 performance parameters for each MSWM plane).   The 5 plane performance stats are: Weapons, Armor, Aerodynamics, Detection & Reliability.   Assume that Aerodynamics has to do with speed and agility.  Reliability has to do with equipment failure - every now and then your radar or some other piece of equipment will fail on you.   Also of particular note, it looks like NONE of these planes are available for sale - they all need to be unlocked by advancing thru levels and missions.

I also do not see any upgrade trees on the game so it appears that the planes are as-is with no further upgrade paths except for the lettered versions of the plane that you also earn as you play (lettered version has better performance than original in some areas but seem to decrease in others sometimes).  It is also not possible to see any numerical values for the performance values - the most that you see is the small white bars for the 5 parameters as you see in the figures below with green bars added on for the lettered versions of the plane.

Plane Type Verdict:   MSWM appears to have more planes and much richer performance differences between planes than SGAS, but its nice to not have to BUY your planes but earn them instead in SGAS.

Weapons Types and Specs:
From what I've seen so far, there are only 3 weapons on SGAS.  There is one type of cannon, one type of single target missiles and a multi-target missile.  Multi-target missiles are used when you have several targets locked at the same time - you can shoot a missile at all of them at once.    It does not look like there are more advanced missiles or cannons like in MSWM unless they are hidden and show up later as you advance.  There are also flare countermeasures that you can launch when a missile is approaching you.

There is also a radar in the top right corner that shows where all planes are located along with missiles tracked on the radar as they approach you which is a nice feature although when playing any greater than 1-on-1 it quickly becomes data overload.

The graphics of the missiles firing and cannon fire is not as good as MSWM in my opinion.  The screen is very busy at times and it is not always easy to tell if you have shot a missile or not.  When you hit your opponent with cannon fire, it is hard to tell besides a pinging sound that you hear and hard to see your cannon fire as you shoot.  You definitely don't light your opponent up with cannon fire as in MSWM.  Missile reload speed seems to be hard to figure out too - sometimes seems like you can shoot again quickly, other times the missile fire buttons seem unresponsive on SGAS.

Weapons Verdict:  I am split on this one.  Not having Bisnos and the other advanced weapons is pleasure on SGAS but MSWM still seems to have a better feel for battle and shooting, especially with cannon fire.

Dogfighting and Overall Game Play:
SGAC is more of what I would imagine a real engagement would be like (aka, a complex, difficult affair).  There are various icons, names and health levels over friendly (blue) and unfriendly forces (red).  There are indications of missile locked onto you, beeping as it approaches, radar to track, friendly forces to track vs unfriendly forces, red triangles vs orange triangles vs gray triangles for missile lock on your opponent.  All-in-all the screen is very busy and sometimes it is initially hard to figure out what is going on.  (update:  I've played for a few days now and it is much easier to understand once you get the swing of it).  I have also found myself getting more "airsick" flying in SGAS - turns and maneuvers appear sharper than MSWM and sometimes it gets disorienting when in "Simulator" mode.  I found that if I fly in "Casual Accerometer" flight control mode, it alleviates these issues.

At the end of each game, SGAS will present your with a list of stats of the battle which is nice, including accuracy rating, kill count...

There are also achievements, leaderboards and levels to advance in SGAS similar to MSWM. In SGAS you advance from a basic airman 3rd class (or something like that) up thru ranks of Ace and the ultimate level is "Sky Gambler".

Perhaps game play will become easier if I play more often, but for now the SGAS interface during battle is a little over the top.  MSWM is a simpler more direct engagement which is a good thing in my opinion.

I have also found it initially confusing to know if I am playing against a computer opponent or a real person online. The default "Play" options is actually against computer opponents although you'd never really know the difference in most cases.  To play online, you need to go to the Mutliplayer/Online option.

Also, dogfights tend to be more long distance in SGAS vs MSWM.  You tend not to have the close in engagements and circling matches - everything seems to be a bit more chaotic.  This may have to do with me being at beginner skill level, but not so sure.  The game seems to love many-to-many engagements more than one-on-one engagements - wasn't able to even find a one-on-one option in the online mode gamerooms available.

Rain & cloud effects

Orange triangle indicates single missile lock - red is multi-missile lock

Flying up thru raincloud

Explosions include bits of the plane flying apart as seen in upper right

Game Play verdict:  This depends on your preference.  If you like a pure and more simple dogfighting, then MSWM is better, especially for one-on-one flying against online opponents.  If you prefer a more complicated engagement with many enemies and more sensory input, then SGAS would be more to your liking.  Personally, I like to play as a mental break and MSWM is still more "fun" in my opinion.  Update:  I've played SGAS for a few days now and its "fun" factor has increased as I've learned to use it - I'd have to give it a tie as to fun factor and game play.

Overall Verdict:  As mentioned above, your preference will depend on your taste.  If you like basic one-on-one matchups without much fuss, than MSWM is best.  MSWM boils down the dogfight to its essence without needing to worry about too many controls and options.  If you want to get deeper into many campaigns, game modes, beautiful terrains, advanced controls & work your way thru unlocking items, than SGAS will be for you.  Overall, SGAS is an excellent game.  As mentioned, the graphics alone are amazing.  If I was Z2Live, I would be plenty worried.  Hopefully they can maintain the "fun" level of MSWM but also step up to this challenge and improve MSWM in the graphics and options department in order to compete.

Note:  Check back periodically - I will update this review as I play Sky Gambler Air Supremacy more.


  1. I believe a f22 and a f35 can do lock on too more than one opponents (a corroding to Ace combat asult

    1. Even 4gen fighter can lock on 4-8 targets.

  2. Cool... and distracting.... less drive for me to sharpen flying skills in MSWO....
    After all, hard to anyone to change business model overnight... especially take cost for Z2 live to add more features....


    1. I will eat my's like the plane... you just need to get the one suits your style...
      MSWO still will occupy my time... just hope them to improve better... we always what we agree with is the best~

    2. Wanna win an iTunes giftcard? If so download the app "App Trailers" and enter the promo code: warwolf1 for a chance to win!

  3. Just wondering.... how come there is a city cramped with 2500 feet tall skyscrapers??

    just kidding about the numbers in the 1st pic lol

  4. damm to bad, ive never waste money for $ apps. so i guess im sticking to msw. although the game looks amazing and enteresting but what can i say im brooke and i know im not alone on this 1. so good luck to those players who switch.

    1. I rarely spend on apps. I've bought some at $1, but that's it. I have yet to spend a penny on MSW...I'm glad I haven't, cuz the developers are kinda shady...and it's super expensive.

      I'm really thinking about buying SGAS, but can't get myself to spend the $5...

    2. its just $5 dude..

    3. just jailbreak ur iDevice and download installous. download da game through it as i have done.

    4. Ya, I never pay a single penny to play apps. SGAS looks so cool with all the different game modes, since I don't pay money for apps, I'm also sticking to MSO.


  5. You're broke because you spent so much on MSW :-)

  6. "You don't know if you play against the AI or against human."

    This is a huge advance compared to MetalWings !
    How poor is the AI in MetalWings !!

  7. Missiles are only reloaded once they have hit target our run out of fuel. And yes, in reality there are radar systems that can track multiple targets at the same time or that you can fire in with several missiles.

  8. Hi is there a contact form on this site pls

  9. I like MSWM better because it is more simple. The maneuver used to dodge missiles on MSWM is very handy. However, Z2 should introduce more types of weapons such as bombs.

    I used to have F.A.S.T (another dog fighting game).
    Apart from the graphics looking unrealistic, the controls were super-complicated and the on-screen appearance of the controls did not look appealing.

    I also used to have sky gamblers rise of glory lite. It was really hard not being able to use missiles. The accelerometer seemed different from that of MSWM and it was really hard to use the machine guns while turning.

  10. MSWM also stands for Municipal Solid Waste Management. :D

  11. Did you (metalstormforever) also make the 'rssdex' website? It says exactly the same thing using exactly the same words but using a different format.

  12. What is this mswm you keep talking about?!? I have searched everywhere and can't find it!!!!!

    1. it is the game this blog talks about--> MetalStorm: Wingman.

  13. sky gamblers is hands down winner if only because you can play while offline (eg on a plane)

    1. Flying a virtual plane while on a regular one FTW.

  14. z2 doesn't care what you think. just keep buying those blues

  15. The minute I started playing Air supremacy, I vowed never to play matalstorm ever again. Sorry, z2 you've been 1 upped.

    -(Night Fury)-

  16. Most important question: How's the lag in SGAS?? If it's not as bad as MSWM, I may have to get this game.

    1. the lag is very very bad if your for not as much lag play MSWM if you dont care about the lag the play SGAS

  17. Hmm. MSWM's lag is really awful and getting worse, but you say SGAS is worse. Thanks for the feedback. I'll be interested to know what others have to say. Meantime, I tried, and I can't seem to get it to install on my device. It takes around 550 megabytes, and I have like 900, but it still says I have too little memory to install it. Ideas, anyone?

    1. Since it is for ipad/iphone, which doesn't have much difference between performance, I would say if they made the game like that, then it fits all devices, and if you lags, other people will probably lag too.

  18. Well, despite the warnings of lag, I got this game anyway. And I love it! The graphics are stellar, the Simulator mode is exactly what I was looking for- basically it combines the best qualities of MSW and F.A.S.T. and then makes it even better for good measure. I haven't seen any sign of the lag I was warned about, even when there are close to ten players all in the same map. The maps, too, are HUGE. There's an altitude limit, but that varies from plane to plane (better planes can go higher), and I haven't been able to find a limit to how far you can go horizontally. But enough of me talking. Those of you who are frustrated with MSWM, this might just be the answer for you. I hope Z2 looks in depth at this game, because they could learn a lot from it.

    P.S. I'll probably still play MSW every once in a while, and still comment on this blog, too. SGAS took a lot of memory on my device, but I made sure not to delete MSWM along with the other apps I cleared out to make space.

    1. In amendment, I have actually seen a bit of lag, but not enough to significantly affect gameplay. It's just the type of thing where damage gets taken a half-second after being dealt, or someone suddenly stops moving, then jumps a few meters. None of that crap with unavoidable missiles and people jumping all over the sky.

  19. I would say SGAS is a way better game than MSWM, if you just think about the cost. $5 for SGAS right? But think how much $$ you will spend on the planes of MSWM and you will see the difference. MSWM looks like a free game, but it is actually slowly consuming your money. Not like SGAS, which you buy it, and it is done, no more paying. (or you download the hacked free version) Lag might be a problem, but simply close other opened app will solve it mostly. Overall, SGAS is for players who want better and more realistic/complicated experience, while MSWM provides a simpler control with a "going down hill" experience. I believe I will slowly quitting MSWM and move on to SGAS. Farewell Z2!

  20. Omg just downloaded SGAS and feel like.......

    You guys should try it, play MSWM for a few month and try SGAS, that feeling is like stepping into a large world from a tiny little room.


  22. It's funny how most of the game's music is either electric guitar or ultra-epic classical tracks, except for the soundtrack in mission six. That piece starts out epic, but a few minutes in and it just says "Wheeee, you're flying! Forget the war, the enemy, and the current situation, just realize that you're in the air and flying!" It's an interesting juxtaposition for the intense combat situation in which if plays, but if I had designed the game, I would have made it play during Free Flight mode. Unfortunately, none of the multiplayer gamemodes have soundtracks.

    1. That's why in every game I play, I always mute the music.

  23. I agree with every comment... SGAS it's another planet for a cheap price

  24. Been a big MSWM fan for the past few months but MSWM is a baby's game compared to SGAS

  25. I went and played MSWM after playing SGAS for a while...
    I went into a versus match, and a missile exploded miles behind me, and I completely quit out and went back to SGAS. Sorry Z2, but your game is crap compared to the awesomeness that is SGAS.
    These are the reasons why I like SGAS better than MSWM (it's a long list, take a breath):
    -In SGAS, there's a simulator mode in which the flight controls make SENSE!
    -In SGAS, dodged missiles don't actually hit you!
    -You can play SGAS offline.
    -Everything can be unlocked, either by leveling up or by accomplishing some goal, like killing 50 planes with the machine gun. There's nothing even resembling currency in the game, and the only numerically-expressed thing you accumulate is Ace Points, which are like XP.
    -You can decorate the exterior of your aircraft. Unfortunately, the only way to get War Paint is to buy it, but it doesn't affect gameplay at all so I think that can be condoned.
    -You can play with up to 10 people at once, and the game still doesn't lag enough to cause a problem.
    -All the planes look slightly different from their real-life counterparts, but their stats accurately reflect the characteristics of said real-life counterparts.
    -There are only two types of missiles, multi-target and single-target. No bisnos, no lancers, no funny stuff. Interestingly, missiles in SGAS track much better than bisnos and the single-target ones do more damage than bisnos. However, your plane has flares and dodging missiles is actually possible to do consistently if you keep your head, so the missiles' stats are not infuriating.
    -There is only one type of machine gun, and the bullets travel at FINITE SPEEDS!
    -When my opponent kills me in SGAS, it's my fault. It's not my opponents fault because he (or she, there are quite a lot of females who play this game compared to MSWM) is not a hacker, and it's not the developers' fault because there isn't much lag (and what lag there is doesn't affect gameplay too much) and the game is just generally well-made. For that reason, I can learn from my mistakes, find out what went wrong, and do better next time.
    -I have not seen a single hacker in SGAS. I mean, I guess I wouldn't know if they hacked just to get all the planes or something, but nobody I've played against has had an unfair advantage.
    -The campaign is ENTIRELY skill-based. That's right, ENTIRELY. You can't even change the plane you use for each mission, it's all predefined. The only control you have over the campaign missions is the control you have over your plane. For that reason, the campaign missions are much more fun than those in MSWM; in MSWM the campaign just felt like incentive to buy a better plane.
    -There's an in-game text chat. It has a very tight character limit, it's obviously designed for quick team orders or the occasional lol, not haranguing the multitudes. Still, it's definitely an improvement to the voice-only MSWM chat. Personally, I'd rather not let some random person on the other side of the globe hear my voice. You can learn a lot about someone from their voice.
    -Your SGAS name is different from your Game Center name. So you can make your name something game-specific like "RFU-37 BOSS" and you don't have to use it in all the other iOS games you play.
    -There is variety in music. In MSWM, there's the menu music and then there's that track that plays any time you fly your plane around. In SGAS, multiplayer gamemodes have no music, but the campaign has all kinds of cool tracks which usually suit the situation pretty well.
    I know that some of you are going to find my long joyrant a bit repellent, but I also know that there are people out there who are fed up with MSWM but don't know if SGAS is better and aren't sure if they want to risk it; the type of people who will benefit from this type of posting. If you read through all of it, I commend you on your attention span. I hope you found this helpful.

    1. Whoops, lied a bit on one of those. You can't quite unlock everything through gameplay. The RFAB01 and RF26 each require a $3 purchase to unlock, and the A6M and the RFU37 require you to get SGRG (Sky Gamblers Rising Glory). Still, it's better than the MSWM freemium BS.

    2. Ah, Sporillium, you are long of wind! Nevertheless, I do believe your review to be quite an interesting addition to this blog's own. My thanks to you for writing it!

    3. really, I didn't know that you had to get SGROG to unlock A6M/RFU-37.

      That's because SGROG was the first thing I bought.

      Nice post Sporillium! must've taken quite awhile to write.

  26. MSWM pissed me off I have deleted and I've wasted £10 on it I WANT A REFUND I have most of the planes in SGAS and I haven't payed a penny the only planes I've payed for are the RF26 and RFAB01 but Revo deserve it overall SGAS rules MSWM is for fools

  27. I would get it if it doesn't require internet to play. One annoying thing about MSWM is that it requires internet to play which is very annoying if there isn't internet around.

  28. Wow, I am on a roll. I want this game cause it's on sale and it seems awesome considering all the stuff you unlock is pretty reasonable.
    NO BITCHNOVATS !!!!!!!!

  29. I think SGAS is better but msw has better campaign.

  30. Gosh I don't know... should I buy SGAS? To me MSWM's graphics look better. Personally from what I've read, I'll stick to simple MSWM and but SGAS some other time.

  31. SGAS is now making us spend real money. They made a second campaign, which is $2.99, and you have to buy planes now (around a dollar).

    I still think it's better than MSW. The controls may seem complicated, but you'll get used to it. Sky Gamblers is a more realistic game.