Flashback. It’s 2001. I’m at the movie theater. Pumped. Four quarters left. A small crowd of friends around my back, and few random people. Pew. Pew. Pew. The enemies are flying at silly fast speeds now, two extra ships. I check my score feeling really good about this game. I smirk as I let go of the joystick as the alien mother ship grapples on to mine and pulls me back to the swarm. New ship. Pew. Pew. Pew. Now I’ve got double guns and rescued my first ship. That’s right, I’m playing Galaga. Nothing will compare to the sweet childhood victory of smashing the local theater’s high-score and suddenly needing to celebrate.
Today’s game takes me back to that same feeling, with a huge upgrade in graphics and gameplay, without ruining what the vertical shooter means to us who’ve played it for years. Sky Force 2014 hits me right in the nostalgia from the moment I started playing and made me pull a Carlton. Essentially you control a ship, zapping chains of enemies, racking up combos and score multipliers, earning faster attack speed, and collecting currency for upgrades. I was in heaven. Admittedly I did not get a chance to play the original version of this title, but I was informed it was also a treat.
Now the game does play a little differently than Galaga, sadly no double-gunner ships that I have seen yet, and (sadly) you can take a couple hits before dying. On top of this there are also currency pick-ups that you gather as you play, allowing you to unlock certain bonuses, and upgrades for your ship. The unfortunate about this mechanic, is you are left to grind through some of the stages multiple times before being able to afford your next few upgrades to beat the next set of levels when the difficulty jumps up a bit. Not game breaking, but I frown on that sort of gameplay. Likely it was done to get you to purchase some of the cash shop items (such as the one that doubles your currency pickups) to get you through the game. And not that I mind supporting the developers on this one, its super pretty, and a great game to pick up and play when you have short time spans, or longer ones to fill with gaming goodness.
One thing that I did find frustrating, and only minorly*, is that getting screenshots of the game was a severe pain. The game is controlled by maneuvering the ship around with one finger so it goes where your finger is. If you lift the finger off the screen…. It goes almost black and the whole game moves in slow motion. Well. Let me tell ya, I needed three hands to take the screenshots for this one (Technically I used 2, and a nose. Yeah. This is what I do for you guys. I sit in public, and awkwardly play video games with my face).
You know… If they had this back in the early 2000s, I would have never actually made it in to see the movies I went to see in the first place. For a free game, let alone a paid one, Sky Force 2014 simply looks gorgeous.
It’s not a flawless title. The hardcore gamer in me cringes that I don’t explode on first contact with an enemy bullet 50 percent of the size of my entire ship. Now, I know I just spent the whole review praising this game, but the truth is it’s a little repetitive for today’s market. While the backgrounds and environments change quite a bit as you play, some more variance. I think back to playing Starfox and wishing some of those mechanics were utilized here.
The audio is really good in this title, and fits just about anything that happens. The announcer that tells me my combo got lost? Yeah, no thanks. I might have nightmares about that sound clip someday. Also if you’re a fan of the wub-wub-wub, you’ll enjoy the music.
Yeah…. Let’s all move along… nothing to see here… Literally. No seriously there’s nothing to see here. OK, it’s not that bad, they have made a lot of changes to the series over its 10 years, after going back and looking at what it used to be, but it’s still – at it’s core – the same game.
Not what you expected right? I agree. I know, let me explain. I generally try and aim this overall number at the general public and not take into my fanboy-isms and say “what would the overall public say”. On top of that the game still didn’t engulf me for hours on end, which is a pretty heavy requirements for a 4 or a perfect 5.
*I’d also like to point out that even though it was used in this article, “minorly” is not a word (but majorly is???? How did “yolo” get in the dictionary before “minorly”?).
What didn’t make it this week:
Amazing Plane Force 2014: Haaaahahahahahahaahahaahhaahahaahahhaa…hahahahaha. Ha. *cough* … Yeah no. Not even a 1. Would have gotten a 1 if you weren’t blatantly trying to capitalize on this game. Score: 0/5
Auto Rap: I have been known to throw down a few bars myself from time to time, and a few in the office can testify that I’m pretty good with a mic in hand. This, however? This is filled with thousands of kids making weird noises to the SINGLE FREE beat and uploading and sharing them. UGH. I get the concept. And it’s awesome. FIX THIS. Score: 2/5