The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces

The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces
Developer(s) Project Aces
Access Games
Platform(s) Wii
Release date(s)
  • JP: October 16, 2008
  • NA: January 12, 2010
  • EU: February 26, 2010
Genre(s) Combat flight simulator
Mode(s) Single-player

The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces (スカイ・クロラ イノセン・テイセス Sukai Kurora: Inosen Teisesu) is an arcade-style combat flight simulator for the Wii based on the 2008 anime film adaptation of Hiroshi Mori’s novel series The Sky Crawlers. Developed by Project Aces in collaboration with Access Games, the game was released in Japan by Namco Bandai Games on October 16, 2008.[1] Xseed Games released the game in North America on January 12, 2010.[2] It was also released by Namco Bandai Games in Europe on February 26, 2010.


Players hold the Wii Remote in their left hand and the Nunchuk in their right hand. Using the motion detection of both controllers, movement of the Nunchuk is used to tilt, roll, pitch and yaw the player's aircraft, while the Wii Remote is used as the throttle, with players tilting it up and down to accelerate and decelerate. The game also supports the Classic Controller and GameCube controller for more traditional control.[3]

The game introduces a gameplay mechanic called the "Tactical Maneuver Command" system, in which players gain the ability to perform automatic acrobatics to better position themselves for attack by keeping in close proximity to their enemies.[3] During the game players unlock new planes, which they can customize in seven areas, such as color, weapons and armor.[4] Players can also replay previous missions that they have beaten.[3]



Set in an alternate history, the game follows the journeys and tribulations of a group of young fighter pilots involved in aerial dogfighting using propeller-driven fighter planes. Although the world is at peace, in order to ease the tension of a populace accustomed to war and aggression, private corporations contract fighter pilots to stage combat operations against each other for show.

In the game players control Lynx, a rookie pilot who joins a team of privately contracted pilots, the Sky Crawlers. The first mission, he joins the Rostock ace air force team, the Cougar Squad, which includes Captain Mutsuga Yamazaki and the hot-blooded Masami Kaida. The first mission involves destroying enemy jamming aircraft. Lynx destroys the aircraft and the group returned to base. Soon after, Cougar Squad is deployed to Ubasama, to rendezvous with new additions to the Squad, revealed to be kildren. Among these new recruits are Maumi Orishina, a female kildren who later becomes obsessed with fighting Lynx, and Ko Ukumori, an Elitist pilot who has strong views on the strong and the weak. Soon after this, Cougar Squad is sent to Kiriki, to defend the production site of a new Flying Battleship, Wolfram. Several Cougar Squad pilots are killed in this operation and another mission on the Yaura River, where Captain Yamazaki sacrifices himself to defend Ukumori from an unexpected Lautern Attack. After Yaura, Lynx is made Captain of Cougar Squad, renamed Cheetah Squad, by Tochika Mozume, Rostock's Deputy Chief of Intelligence.

After several operations, including destroying an illegal Lautern Power Plant and destroying Lautern's prized Glacier Fleet, an operation to destroy Fortress Shikibo goes disastrously wrong when Lautern's Amoebic Rail Cannon, which was said to be non-operational, downs several Rostock Pilots, including two Cheetah Squad Pilots. Ukumori insults these pilots, including Captain Yamazaki, which causes Kaida to go berserk, firing on and damaging Ukumori's Itsuha. Cheetah is then ordered to shoot down Kaida, who harbours no ill will towards Cheetah. Soon after, Orishina goes missing, and turns out to have defected to Lautern. Soon after an attack on Kiriki, where Wolfram is nearing completion, is foiled by Cheetah Squad, It is revealed that Mozume has launched a revolt against Rostock, seizing Wolfram and persuading Ukumori and two other kildren to defect to Lautern. The three rogue kildren are shot down by Cheetah, who soon attacks Wolfram as it lifts off from Kiriki, destroying its engines and armaments as an increasingly deranged Mozume reveals his true goals; Destroying Lautern and Rostock and making a new world from the ashes. Cheetah delivers fatal damage to Wolfram, which crashes in a gigantic inferno and killing an insane Mozume, who dies cursing Cheetah. The last mission of the game takes place over the Bay of Biscay, in a large Air Battle between Rostock and Lautern. Orishina soon arrives and engages Cheetah, but is shot down after a grueling battle. The final Cutscene has an unnamed female Kildren, believed to be Kusanagi from the movie, arrive at the base, referring to Cheetah as Teacher.[5]



The main character of the game. His face is never shown nor does he ever talk. It appears Lynx is his callsign, as the squad chooses to use them during missions. Lynx's name is changed to Cheetah by his squad mates after he takes over as Captain. Cheetah is considered a superior and quite feared ace by the enemy, nicknamed the Black Cat because of the black cat painted on the back of the planes he rides. At the end of the game, Cheetah is called Teacher, suggesting that he is the character of the same name from the film.

Maumi Orishina

Voiced by: Haruka Kudō (Japanese); Heather Hogan (English)

She is the only girl in the Cougar Squad, later renamed the Cheetah Squad after Lynx is made captain and renamed Cheetah. She is a Kildren, cloned children who never age to be used as soldiers, and she loves to fly more than anything else. After a mock battle to test new planes against Cheetah, Maumi becomes obsessed with fighting Cheetah to have the ultimate aerial battle she desires. She takes this to the point of even defecting to Lautern to force Cheetah to fight her in a final duel. In the end, Cheetah is forced to shoot her down, but she is seen at the end of the game. Whether she is the same Maumi or a clone of her is unknown, but she respects Cheetah as her superior and calls him Teacher, implying she could be the film character Suito Kusanagi after her death in the game.

Kō Ukumori

Voiced by: Kenshō Ono (Japanese); Yuri Lowenthal (English)

Ukumori is a white haired Kildren, codenamed Sprite, that believes in strength alone. He commonly looks down on the fallen, suggesting they were weak, much to the anger of others. Ukumori sees himself as the best of everyone, and commonly makes challenges to others, verbally insulting their skills as well. At the end, Ukumori defects with Mozume in the idea with Rostock's successes, victory had to be given to Lautern to balance the war. As he battles Cheetah. He shows a severe jealous streak of Cheetah, claiming all his fame and recognition should be his instead. However, he is killed when Cheetah shoots him down. It was unknown if Ukumori was recloned afterwards.

Masami Kaida

Voiced by: Tarusuke Shingaki

A serious and often made fun of member of the Cougar/Cheetah Squad who idolized Captain Yamazaki. He apparently shares a second in command role with Ukumori after Cheetah is promoted to Captain. Kaida often is at ends with Ukumori, disliking his attitude about the fallen. Eventually, Ukumori pushes Kaida too far after two of their squadmates are killed and he insults not only them, but the fallen Captain Yamazaki once more. Kaida attacks Ukumori, intending to shoot him down, making Mozume order Cheetah to shoot him down. Cheetah is forced to shoot down his friend, but Kaida shows no hatred as he falls. He just says goodbye to his old friend with a smile before dying in the explosion.

Mutsuga Yamazaki

Voiced by: Masaki Terasoma

The serious and hard-nosed leader of the Cougar Squad. He continually tells his squadmates about their shortcomings to keep them improving, and cares about the safety of them. Yamazaki is killed when he shields Ukumori's plane from gunfire; ironically, Ukumori continues to insult Yamazaki throughout the game even though his sacrifice saved his life. After Yamazaki is killed in action, Lynx is promoted to captain and renamed Cheetah, thus renaming the squad the Cheetah Squad.

Tochika Mozume

Voiced by: Takeshi Maeda (Japanese); Vic Mignogna (English)

The Deputy Chief in charge of Rostock's operations and the antagonist of the game, apparently being also one of people involved in the introduction of Kildren. He takes full command after Yamazaki's death, promoting Lynx/Cheetah to captain. Mozume acts like he cares about the well-being of his pilots, but in truth, he is a manipulative opportunist who seeks to gain power for himself. Mozume is the one who manipulates Maumi to defect, though not explaining why (It may have been he wanted her to get rid of Cheetah who he started seeing as a threat). He is also the one who makes the Kildren, aside from Hiroto and Niva, defect against Rostock, stealing Wolfram, a gigantic battleship, for Lautern. As you battle the Wolfram, Mozume reveals his true nature, declaring that he will remake a new world when he gains the power he needs. It was suggested Mozume would eventually turn on Lautern when he got what he wanted from them. In the end, Mozume's plans are brought to end by Cheetah when the ace pilot destroys Wolfram's chimneys, causing an internal fire that damages it from inside, as well as its powerful cannons. As the Wolfram is falling, Mozume's madness makes his own men abdandon him to die. Mozume states that Cheetah will one day succumb to old age and that his battles will be for naught. Before the Wolfram crashes and kills its mad creator, Mozume curses the world, most likely Cheetah most of all.



The game features cut scenes animated by Production I.G, who also animated the 2008 film. The film's director Mamoru Oshii was a special consultant along with author Hiroshi Mori, and both played and tested a pre-release version of the game.[6]


British magazine NGamer gave the Japanese version of the game 88%.[7] Nintendo Power gave the game a 7 out of 10.[8] IGN gave the game an 8.0. Hardcore Gamer Magazine awarded the game a 3.5/5 stating that players will likely enjoy the story and that "you will feel like a badass pilot as you mow down planes and bomb ground units."[9] The Australian video game talk show Good Game's two reviewers gave the game a 3.5/10 and 4/10.[10]

Manga adaptation

A manga series based on the game was serialized in the monthly magazine Monthly Comic Blade from November 2008. It was illustrated by Yūho Ueji.


  1. "Ace Combat Team Brings Sky Crawlers to Wii". IGN. 2008-03-18. Retrieved 2009-07-03.
  2. "Nintendo Unveils its Video Game Lineup for Early 2010". Nintendo. 2009-12-14. Retrieved 2009-12-15.
  3. 1 2 3 "Sky Crawlers Playtest". IGN. 2008-10-17. Retrieved 2009-07-03.
  4. "The Sky Crawlers - more details". Go Nintendo. 2008-10-29. Retrieved 2009-07-03.
  5. "XSEED Games Announces The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces for Wii - official press release". Go Nintendo. 2009-07-03. Retrieved 2009-07-03.
  6. "押井 守監督の最新劇場映画「スカイ·クロラ The Sky Crawlers」がWiiで登場 「スカイ·クロラ(仮題)」【映像インタビューつき】". 2008-03-21. Retrieved 2008-03-21.
  7. "NGamer Directory The Wii Top 50". NGamer (39): 106. September 2009.
  8. Nintendo Power Volume 250
  9. ", Leon The Hart" (28 January 2010). "Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces Review". Hardcore Gamer Magazine. Retrieved 28 January 2010.
  10. "Good Game stories - The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2010-05-03.
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