Sky Odyssey is set on a four island strong archipelago, where the player must complete various challenges in order to unlock new aircraft and progress in the game. In an interview the developers stated that: “We have based gameplay on realistic physics and handling, but we did not want to let "reality" make the game too difficult, so we have included some non-realistic areas to help keep the game fun to play.” As a result the game has a very arcade-like feel to it, but is still challenging in many places due to its realism. The game was scored by Kō Ōtani, the composer behind Team Ico's Shadow of the Colossus.
There are four main gameplay modes in the game.
This is the main story mode of the game, made up of 19 missions that the player must complete. Mission objectives largely revolve around simply getting from A to B, but on occasion include a mandatory refuel from a moving vehicle. Rockslides, cloudy weather, and wind conditions all emerge up to inhibit the players progress through the missions.
The overarching objective of this mode is to discover the “Tower of Maximus” by collecting pieces of a map spread out between the four islands. Map pieces are collected by landing at specific sites throughout the world.
Within each mission the player can undergo two activities in order to increase the rank presented to them at the mission clear screen. The player can perform stunts such as barrel rolls and loops to earn acrobatic points, and they can also pass through checkpoint rings spread throughout the environment, often in hazardous locations. Performing stunts whilst flying through checkpoint rings will net the player bonus acrobatic points.
At the end of each mission the player is then presented with a rank. They highest rank carries the symbol of a circled A , and is achieved by earning over 5000 points in the acrobatic count.
This mode tasks the player with drawing a series of ten images in the sky, from diamonds to infinity symbols, to clock faces. The player must time the release of the coloured smoke from their plane before flying through the required rings.
At the end of each mission the player is given a score out of one hundred based on their completion time as well at the amount of rings they managed to pass through.
Within the target mode, the player must complete five stages of increasing difficulty. Stages are completed by flying through a certain amount of numbered targets. In later stages targets are situated at extraordinary heights, and will move around, making them much harder to hit.
Bonus points are awarded in this mode for hitting targets of one colour exclusively, hitting targets in the correct numerical order, and landing on the correct air strip.
At the end of each of the five stages the player is given a percentage score based on the above criteria (with a gold, silver, or bronze medal awarded as a result), and at the end of the five stages these values are averaged out to give a final score.
Free Flight Mode
Free flight mode contains no objectives, nor timers. The player may choose to take on the burden of a fuel gauge if they wish, in which case their flight has a finite time it can go on for, or they may wish to ignore their fuel levels entirely, allowing them to go on flying indefinitely.
The player may choose to fly in any of the game's maps, which can be selected to have any weather conditions of the player's choosing.
Though not a proper mode, a training mode is included to allow players to familiarise themselves with the game's controls.
Swordfish Mk1 Custom
Climbing ability 1.8
A biplane based on the Fairey Swordfish which flew in the RAF from 1934 until 1946. As such the plane saw much action against Germany in World War 2.
The representation of the plane in game, whilst similar, bears a few notable differences to its real world counterpart. The in-game plane is lighter, less powerful, longer and taller than the real thing. Interestingly the two planes' wingspans are just one centimetre different.
Climbing ability 0.9
The Bf-109 is again a World War 2 era plane, based on the German Messerschmitt Bf 109. It made up the majority of the Luftwaffe's aircraft until 1941 when it began to be phased out in favour of the Focke-Wulf Fw 190.
In-game the plane is one of the faster craft available, its downside being a lack of manoeuvrability.
Pulse Jet “Test Type”
Climbing ability 1.3
The only fictional starter plane, the pulse jet makes up for what it lacks in stability with an enormous amount of agility.
Though fictional, the plane's name comes from a real type of engine used in jet planes, the pulse jet engine.
UFO “Type Gold”
Climbing ability 1.6
The UFO, based on it's common depiction in the first half of the 20 Century, is an incredebly fast craft, with not one downside in theory. In practise however, a large amount of skill is required to control the plane as its speed makes fast reactions a must.
UFO “Type Silver”
The silver UFO is essentially the same as its golden brethren but is slightly thinner, allowing for a better view.
Climbing ability 1.1
The Autogyro (also known in the real world as a gyrocopter or rotaplane) is a small craft similar in appearance to a helicopter. Unlike a helicopter however, the main rotor is not powered, it is instead given its rotation by a complex series of aerodynamic forces.
The XG-1 is one of the more stable planes in the game but lacks any other notable features.
Climbing ability 1.5
The F4U Corsair is based on the real world World War 2 fighter plane of the same name, and was used by the US against the Japanese, some of whom regarded it as the most formidable American aircraft of the war.
Sky Odyssey's representation of the F4U is that of a good all-rounder, suitable for use in all of the game's missions.
Climbing ability 1.2
The Kyūshū J7W1 Shinden was a Japanese plane developed during the Second World War. Despite this, only two were actually produced before the end of the conflict.
Unlike most other aircraft, the Shinden's propeller is placed on the rear of the aircraft, meaning that the propeller pushes the craft rather than pulling it.
Climbing ability 1.2
This craft is the jet powered version of the Shinden, but was never actually produced in the real world despite plans for it being drawn up.
Climbing ability 1.3
The Messerschmitt Me-262 was the first jet powered aircraft to ever be produced, and served in the Luftwaffe during World War 2. It saw service up until 1957 in Czechoslovakia.
Climbing ability 1.0
The Stealth Jet is the fastest plane in the game, perhaps as it is the only aircraft to be modelled on a plane produced after the 1970's. As there are no enemy radar to speak of within the game, the jet's radar invisibility is never used, but its extraordinary speed makes it well worth using.
Each island contains a number of missions.
#6 in IGN's Top 10 Underrated and Under-Appreciated Games