Sky Force Reloaded Review

Sky Force Reloaded

I first discovered this franchise on an old HP iPaq PDA that I picked up second hand around 2008 or 2009. I have always been attracted to 2.5D games, I really like the additional sense of depth you get with this slight addition. My first experience with 2.5D was the line scrolling floor in Street Fighter II in the arcade. It always boggled my mind why we didn’t see more of this in gaming back then (I was naïve and didn’t realize 16-Bit consoles were not quite powerful enough to pull this off “well”). When the 3DO launched, I waited for these magnificent games to be released – sadly, 2.5D overhead shooters and side scrollers never materialized. They were rare on the original PlayStation and Sega Saturn as well, but they did eventually start gaining ground. Games like Clockwork Knight on the Sega Saturn and Tomba and Klonoa on the Sony PlayStation. My love for 2.5D scrolling games has been pretty much left in the dark on and off no matter the platform. Then I got that HP iPaq and it had the original Sky Force installed on it. That was a momentous day when an awesome $25 purchase on eBay really paid off for me.

Since that first exposure to Sky Force, Infinite Dreams has ported it to several other platforms. The original exposure I experienced on that old iPaq is still my favorite, though Sky Force 2014 on Android is basically that game on a more modern platform. Sky Force Reloaded is a remix of the original Sky Force with new levels, new power ups and of course, new enemies.

Sky Force Reloaded

 

Before I get too far into this review, I must confide in you the reader something. I suck at scrolling shooters. I love them but suck at them horribly. I remember being giddy coming home with my copy of Thunder Force III on Sega Genesis (and later a few years, Thunder Force V on PSOne) and thinking how awesome it is going to be to get my butt handed to me by this amazingly detailed shooter.

There is not much of a story to be had in Sky Force Reloaded. That is just the nature of the beast for this genre. All we care about is how the game plays and if stuff blows up good.


Things blow up good in Sky Force Reloaded.

The 2.5D effect is beautiful in many levels. Do you remember that feeling the first time you played M.U.S.H.A. on the Sega Genesis and got to that level where the floor falls out of the level – pieces scaling away as you fly over. That was a profound effect. The Sky Force franchise doesn’t have a level that replicates that effect, but it does create an amazing sense of depth.

Sky Force Reloaded

Sky Force Reloaded is an auto scrolling shooter, not many are manually scrolled. As things pass under your ship you see the 2.5D effect in full force. Some things are smaller, and it is not all that noticeable. The larger items that are being torn down from your armaments pounding them scrolling by is visually impressive.

Sky Force Reloaded

I mean, for a scrolling shooter, Sky Force Reloaded is one of the best available. Even though you are basically playing the same levels over and over, collecting new things each time, the events never get old.

This is where Infinite Dreams have done their homework. Each level has three available modes to play through. The first is easy, then hard, then nightmare. Each mode has a handful of things you can accomplish to earn stars which are used to dictate future levels and things becoming available to you.

Sky Force Reloaded

From rescuing all humans to destroying 70 and 100 percent of the enemy forces to collecting all stars and finally completing a level without taking ANY damage – you have your work cut out for you in this game. Couple those challenges with three difficulties and you can see how it is going to be a long night shooting everything that moves.

Sky Force Reloaded

The enemies run the gamut of your every day airplanes to spider walking laser spewing monstrosities that take a ton of damage, even on easy these things are a huge pest to deal with.

The enemies are often a breath of fresh air as you fly over and blast them to death. Particularly the end bosses which are sometimes bigger than the screen requiring you take them out in sections. These bosses are also menaces of the sky that are out for blood – often filling the screen as well as some of the best bullet hell shooters.

Sky Force Reloaded

You are not left alone in your quest to defeat the enemy as you can buy upgrades in the hangar using the stars you collect in the levels. There are timers involved so you will be spending stars to finish those as well. See where the grinding comment earlier is coming from? You can replay any level you have open on any difficulty that you have unlocked so you are only out of stars when you quit playing.

Sky Force Reloaded is an updated version of the classic which was already pushing the envelope like Space Megaforce and Axelay did on the Super Nintendo. Much like Angry Birds, I am concerned that what Infinite Dreams does next may not be as well received because of the amount of time this title has been available, and the number of remakes and updates it has received. Following up a hit like this is harder than it looks.

Sky Force Reloaded by Infinite Dreams
Platform: Android (Ascend XT used for review) also on iPhone
Genre: Overhead scrolling shooter
In App Purchases: Yes
Rated: E for Everyone and 9+ on iTunes
Available now on Google Play and the iTunes App Store

Carl is a portable gamer (mainly PSP and Android) currently getting his butt handed to him in MIniclip’s Beast Quest on Android. Got a cool tip or inquiry about Gaming on Batteries? Contact Carl and he will be in touch ASAP.

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