At first glance, Plasma Sky looks like a neon-edged bullet-hell blaster. There's certainly an aura of the genre around the game, from the single-finger control to the precise waves of enemies and laser blasts that you need to navigate.
But scratch a little deeper and you'll find a game that owes as much to earlier arcade blasters as it does to twitchy modern titles. And, perhaps more importantly, you'll find that Plasma Sky is a little more welcoming than your first glance suggested.Rifling through space
The game is all about piloting a spaceship through 80 bite-size levels of brightly coloured chaos and carnage. You use a single digit to weave your hopelessly outnumbered craft through the maelstrom of bad guys and your shooting is controlled automatically.
While you're working your way through a maze of projectiles and aliens, there's never quite the madness you'll find in the likes of DoDonPachi Resurrection. Instead, there's a gentle curve of increasingly difficult levels, the patterns getting tougher as you progress.
Killed enemies drop orange pods. These fill up a bar which makes your weapons more powerful. The bar steadily decreases, though, so you need to make sure you're killing as efficiently as you can, or the tools at your disposal get weaker.
For bullet-hell veterans the game might feel a little sedate, but while progress is sensibly measured there's still the lure of the high score for those who like a challenge. Getting through a level - most of which only last 30 seconds - and getting the highest possible score are two very different things.Layered
There's a Hardcore mode, too, which lets you take on endless waves of bad guys with no health and no continues. Various power-ups also show up, from clocks that slow down time to bombs that let you destroy everything within their blast radius.
It does occasionally feel like the controls are slightly behind, which can be a little frustrating when you're trying to dodge through a shower of plasma bullets, but it doesn't happen often enough to really make much difference.Plasma Sky is an impressive-looking package, and there's plenty of high score-chasing action to get your teeth into, too. It's not perfect, but if you're looking for an accessible, entertaining arcade shooter it comes highly recommended.