If you never heard of Sky Force, that’s ok as it was a Symbian phone game back from 2004. Ten year later, there’s Sky Force 2014, which is an arcade vertical shoot ‘em up where you pilot a ship through a series of enemies. You simply drag your finger to control the ship, and it fires automatically requiring you to dodge enemy fire, while lining up your own shots. You have probably seen the style before, but Sky Force 2014 infuses it with plenty of eye candy for a gorgeous backdrop to the arcade action.
The heart of the game is blasting everything on screen with very specific waves to go after rather than a bullet hell set-up. There are varied types of enemies whether it’s planes, helicopters, or freighters all coming in specific patterns to take out. The game includes ten rather lengthy stages to make your way through, and there’s a system in place to make for a relatively methodical progression. You need to earn medals to unlock the next stage, and it’s the same set every time. It can feel like a grind to reach these specific objectives while playing the same levels, rather than simply advancing by clearing a stage. Also, the game uses an upgrade system that is often required to help you survive each progressively more difficult stage.
There’s no doubt you have to grind your way through at times, but there’s still a well designed arcade shoot ‘em up experience. It would be nice to see it more free flowing to let you play the levels at your own pace. Also, the game is relatively simple in scope, and only adds play time by the restrictive set-up. One odd part of the game is that it’s relatively slow moving in the introduction of enemies, and just the overall pacing. You have an expectation of the typical arcade speed, but it’s just not there in Sky Force 2014. It’s great to see the game in action with a wide variety of environments, but it’s not as engaging as it could be with the methodical level approach, and gameplay flow.
Sky Force 2014 (Free, Universal) is a highly polished arcade shooter, that stumbles in the overall structure, but is still worth downloading to try for yourself.