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Best of 2008:
SkyratesAs odd as it may sound, Skyrates is a game about human-like animals flying biplanes between floating continents. Think Star Fox meets The Kingdom of Zeal from Chrono Trigger. You're a young pilot out to make an impact by trading, performing missions, and fighting pirates. Here's the catch: flying between islands takes at least an hour of real-time. The game was designed by a group of then-CMU grad-students to explore sporadic play, something you check like e-mail a few times a day. The result is not only interesting, its good enough to thread its way into your life.

Why we picked it: Skyrates just might be the Web's most charming airborne lemonade stand game. Other players may consider it a challenging shooter, or a multiplayer RPG. That's the beauty of Skyrates—there's so much gameplay involved, there's bound to be something for everyone. Quite a lot has changed since we first reviewed Skyrates last January—for a start, it seems a lot more stable. The interface and some of the game mechanics have been tweaked, new planes have been introduced, and the whole map has been rearranged, making the game worth revisiting if you haven't played in a while. The real-time action puts the "casual" back into casual gameplay, and yet the game remains seriously addictive. Definitely one of the Best of 2008.

Audience Award:
SkyratesAs odd as it may sound, Skyrates is a game about human-like animals flying biplanes between floating continents. Think Star Fox meets The Kingdom of Zeal from Chrono Trigger. You're a young pilot out to make an impact by trading, performing missions, and fighting pirates. Here's the catch: flying between islands takes at least an hour of real-time. The game was designed by a group of then-CMU grad-students to explore sporadic play, something you check like e-mail a few times a day. The result is not only interesting, its good enough to thread its way into your life.

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