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|
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.
Free For All
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|
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.