Battlestations: Midway unexpectedly (at least to us) flew to the top of the charts, which proved (again, to us) that there’s a bigger demand for air combat sims than anybody (we) realised. Luckily for fans of the genre, there’s another around the corner in the form of Heatseeker. Notably it’ll be Codemasters’ first game for Wii – they only published one GameCube game, fact fans – but it’s the PlayStation 2 version that we’ve had the pleasure of playing.

HeatseekerVarious publications have dubbed this ‘Burnout in the sky’, and for a number of good reasons. The first and foremost is the inclusion of an ‘Impact Cam’ – occasionally when you lock onto an enemy and fire a missile, the camera will switch to a view of the missile smashing a rival into tiny pieces. It doesn’t add anything to the gameplay – not in the way that the ‘After Touch’ system did in the later Burnouts – but it’s still pretty nifty. The explosions are nice and meaty (there’s infinite ammo, incidentally) and we’re quite fond of zooming through patches of cloud at top speed with the customary motion-blur in tow. The sound effects aren’t quite as roaring as we’d like, but there’s plenty of chatter between pilots to help create an atmosphere.

The controls are easy to master, but we do have a complaint – to accelerate you need to push the right analogue stick forward, while to lock onto an enemy the square button needs to be pressed. It’s very tricky to keep both held down at once, as both are on the same side of the controller. Hopefully in the full game one of the shoulder buttons can be assigned to lock on.

It’s due out at the end of March on PlayStation 2, PSP and Wii, and should appeal to those who enjoy the Ace Combat and Deadily Skies titles. And maybe Konami’s Top Gun LCD game. Their Turtles one was better though.

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