Sky Force Reloaded - A truly middle-of-the-runway shooter
| Sky Force Reloaded
It would be fair to say, if a little reductive, that the secret to making a good shmup consists purely of filling a screen with enemies to shoot and bullets to dodge.
Yet even though Sky Force Reloaded manages to do this, it somehow also manages to not be all that much fun.
It's just another paint-by-numbers, top-down shoot-'em-up that adds nothing new to the genre, while simultaneously ignoring what makes other, similar games enjoyable.Neee-yom
The premise is fairly straightforward - your plane moves constantly forward, while enemies appear from all sides, filling the screen with bullets.
Your plane moves to wherever your finger is on-screen, and fires directly ahead automatically. All you need to do is dodge bullets and blow up enemies.
There's also troops on the ground to collect, which requires you to hover nearby them for a few seconds, scoring you points in the process.
Enemies come at you thick and fast, and there's enough variation in enemy types and patterns to keep you on your toes.Whoosh
But the problem is that you'll be repeating missions again and again, in order to grind out much-needed upgrades for your plane.
Defeated foes drop stars, and you need to collect a ton of these to be able to afford upgrades. And even more to be able to skip through the wait timer that kicks in when you install an upgrade.
Your main motivation for redoing levels in a shmup should be to see how high you can get your score, not because you have to grind to be able to reach the end.
And the levels themselves are bland and uninspiring. The only bits of colour you see are bright blue and purple bullets you need to dodge, while everything else, from backgrounds to enemies, is just drab.
The controls, too, are an issue, proving way to responsive and giving you almost no sense of tension when manoeuvring because you know you'll almost immediately arrive at your destination.Ratta-tata-tat
And the health bar mechanic, while useful for newbies to the genre, feels off. Sometimes bullets will land and barely damage you, other times you'll die in one hit for no good reason.
It's supposed to teach you which enemies to be more afraid of, but mostly it just feels cheap and frustrating.
Which, overall, is the main vibe of Sky Force Reloaded. You never feel like you're having fun, just grinding your way through the same levels again and again for no good reason.
Flawed progression, uninspired enemies, and gameplay mechanics that make the whole thing feel simultaneously too easy and annoyingly tricky hold this back from being more than just a solid shooter.