Codemasters’ Heatseeker has been dubbed â€˜Burnout in the skyâ€™ because of its fancy motion blur and impact cam, but this airborne racer is more deserving of that label. Not only because it is a racing game – whereas Heatseeker is an arcade-style combat game – but because boost is earned by flying close to the ground. Therefore, like Burnout, youâ€™re forced to dice with death in order to win.
Combat features too though. Youâ€™ve got your Mario Kart-style pick-ups during races – stealth shields, missiles, mines and such – and then thereâ€™s the option of partaking in a handful of free-roaming combat arenas in which weapons are dotted around in precarious places, like under the supports of an oil rig. In career mode, most rounds involve a couple of races then a combat arena, which provides a nice change of pace. In arcade mode you can opt for either a race or an arena. Win or lose, it doesnâ€™t matter – this mode is just there for a quick fix.
The fact that there are only five tracks is disappointing, but theyâ€™re suitably different, ranging from a Malayan jungle to an ice wasteland, and have plenty of straights for boosts and the occasional ramp to fly up vertically. If thereâ€™s a missile on your tail you can barrel roll to shake it off – a trick thatâ€™s as entertaining to pull off the first time as it is the seventh or eighth during a race. New planes can only be unlocked in career mode, as can money to be blown on upgrades. Everybody knows that the PSP is swamped with racing games, but this is still a stylish and fun, if slightly shallow, addition.