Sky Force Anniversary PC Review
Publisher: Infinite Dreams
Developer: Infinite Dreams
Platform Reviewed: PC
Release date: 30/04/2015
The original Sky Force was a vertical shooter which was released, yes you guessed it, 10 years ago on PocketPC and mobile phones. In 2014 Infinite Dreams produced a re-imagining of the original in the form of Sky Force 2014 which is available on iOS. Thus, the anniversary edition is a mobile port of the latter, but is it worth your time? Transitioning from mobile devices to PC is a tricky business and most are genuinely awful, so does this fare any better?
Well the first impressions are rather good, running at 1080p at 60fps gameplay is fast and smooth. Travelling over land and sea, dodging enemy fire as you zip around the screen is instinctive and just as satisfying as it should be. The obvious switch from swiping a screen to using a control pad in order to navigate the stages makes the entire experience much more fun and, for an ageing gamer like me, much more intuitive.
The levels are wonderfully presented and the attention to detail is genuinely very impressive. Sky Force 2014 was never an ugly game, far from it, but the jump to PC has made a notable difference. Backgrounds are lush and colourful and is nice to see a change from the platter of brown we have sadly been subjected to over recent years. Flying over remote islands whilst the surrounding waves crash against the rocks and the palm trees sway gently in the wind is a nice place to be, even if you are laying waste to everything set before you. Even the military bases have been handled with right amount of care, the unavoidable greyness of concrete is broken up with intelligent use of scenery, couple this with the bright neon weapon fire and your eyes will never begin to tire.
So, what about the plot, well if you come here in search of a multi layered story, full of complex dialogue and difficult decision making you’re in the wrong place, I’m sure if you shop around Final Fantasy or Elder Scrolls are on sale somewhere. No here you will find some nonsensical nonsense regarding someone called General Madness, but honestly, I’ve forgotten it already, I just wanted to shoot things and thankfully that’s where Sky Force delivers.
The opening prologue level gives you the opportunity to pilot your craft whilst at its most powerful, armed to the teeth with all manner of destructive capabilities, it won’t be long until General has gone the way of many a lofty dictator, hiding in a bunker somewhere hoping the actor who will play him in the movie is, at least, good looking. Sadly for us and once again, reasons I forget, our well-equipped angel of destruction is stripped bare of all but one of the available weapons, a measly single shot, front mounted gun. If you are to put a stop to the Madness, then you will need all of your tools and it’s here that Sky Force proves to be quite addictive.
Kill a certain enemy and it will drop a much needed weapon upgrade, these are only temporary and will last for the entire level. However, enemies also drop stars, which act as currency with the game, collect enough of these and the end of each stage you will have the opportunity to spend in the workshop. It’s here where you can upgrade your ship, purchase new weapons or increase the damage output of the ones you already own. Now, originally being a free to play game, extra stars could be purchased if you were willing to part with your hard earned cash, thankfully this option has now been removed and the game is all the better for it. Each level can be replayed as often as you like, each time earning you more stars and coupled with the way each new level unlocks, this is where the addiction can take hold.
In order to open up new levels a certain amount of medals needs to be achieved. These are gained by completing set challenges within each stage. They’re four in total, complete a level without being hit, save all the survivors, kill 70% and 100% of the enemy forces. As the game progresses it becomes much harder to achieve these goals and you will need a powerful ship in order to do it and that’s when the grind starts. Kill as many enemies as you can, earn stars, upgrade your ship and aim for the challenge medals. You are heavily incentivised to replay past missions over and again.
And that’s it in a nutshell, if you enjoyed games such as Super Aleste or 1942 then there is much to be admired here. With its ridiculously forgettable plot, wonderful presentation, epic boss battles and addictive, satisfying gameplay, Sky Force Anniversary has a lot to offer. And when you marry all these to local co-op, weekly challenges, and online leaderboards you will certainly get a lot of bang for your buck.
- Overall very pretty
- Can be quite addictive
- Great for short blasts of gaming
- Not for those who loathe the grind
- Music can become repetitious
- Gets very tricky in the latter stages
Score – 7/10
Reviewer – Ian P.