M.A.C.H. Modified Air Combat Heroes
It's Ridge Racer - in the sky! PSP review.
Sierra / Vivendi
There's not really too many straightforward racing games available using aircraft as the mode of transport. Although they might seem as well suited to racing as vehicles such as cars, bikes, trucks and karts, on closer inspection, when it is the nature and ability of planes to fly anywhere making a game within this genre raises many potential problems.
How can you prevent players taking shortcuts, flying higher and lower and generally missing out on half of the track? How do you decide who wins in such circumstances? How do you define and mark out a lap of the racing circuit?
Well, developers Kuju have taken on this challenge with its new PSP title M.A.C.H., or Modified Air Combat Heroes to give it its convoluted full name. Not only does the game include straight racing elements but also aerial dogfight challenges within restricted areas which adds variety to the proceedings and plays into the nature of the military styled aircraft present in the title.
A Ridge Racer of the skies is a concise way to describe MACH as its emphasis is purely on fun and enjoyment as opposed to more realistic simulations such as Ace Combat X. For instance, fly too low and your altitude will automatically level out before you reach the ground. Even should you crash you are simply restarted in your plane after a few seconds delay as if nothing happened.
"Its emphasis is purely on fun and enjoyment as opposed to more realistic simulations such as Ace Combat X."
This then enables you to buy and unlock better aircraft and also to customize them not only in terms of their speed, power and agility but also in incidentals such as decals and colour options. Each tier must be completed to unlock the next level.
The challenge mode again has the same set of tiers which must be unlocked. Each tier consists of five challenges with varying objectives which must be completed in order to progress, be it to shoot down as many opponent aircraft as possible within a limited time or to collect as many coins as possible before time runs out. Finally there's also the multiplayer option which allows for up to 8 friends to race or dogfight against each other.