Shmup it real good!.
The shooter-em-ep genre is one I grew up with back in the 80’s and always has a fond heart for. Playing Sky Force Anniversary edition seemed like a no brainer for review. Though I’ll be honest, I had no idea what anniversary the game was celebrating, but after doing some research, it appears this is an updated version to a popular mobile version, (the more you know.) It’s not that anyone who hasn’t played this genre can’t guess what it’s going to be like. Piloting ships, fighting waves of enemies, taking down big bosses, and racking up those high scores. The big question is, does it do anything different or take the genre further? Or does it just do what the genre has always done and really well. I’d say the latter.
GO! GO! GO!
Starting off, the game immediately has players battling against a swarm of enemies, with a fairly powerful ship. Things happen, ship loses abilities, and it’s the player’s task of building themselves back up over the proceeding handful of levels. It takes a while, so expect for things to start off slow. It’s not that players won’t be able to get past levels with the early upgrades, but enemies will take more hits and death will come much faster. Killing enemies drops stars which are points used to upgrade. Finishing a level or dying lets players go to a hanger to use those points to make their ship more powerful. It makes replaying those missions retain a sense of progress even if having to start completely over from the beginning.
Price I’d Pay: $9.99
Multiplayer: 2 play local co-op
How long to beat: 4+ hours
As far as the core gameplay, it’s the same thing we have seen from countless other games. Lone ship, moving through the enemy lines, taking down small enemies that move fast, or huge hulking ships that need specific parts to be blown away before finally succumbing to the hail of bullets players throw at them. I do think games in the genre have been going more toward bullet hell style where there is just so many bullets on screen that it’s hard to see what’s going on. Sky Force feels a bit more scaled back in that sense, and focuses more on patterns and movement of enemies.
It’s not to say players won’t experience bullets flying in their faces, but it feels a bit more methodical and not all over the place. It’s also nice that each level has four bonus goals to complete, such as rescuing people or killing the majority of enemies. Upon doing so a harder version of the levels unlock. It gives the game an even better replay value, as not only can players strive for those goals, but unlocking the more difficult levels takes it up a notch.
Shoot now, ask later.
I don’t think Sky Force Anniversary is anything to run out immediately and grab, unless the genre is an absolute favorite. Yet what we have here is a solid game that consistently reminds me games such as 1942, which was one of my absolute favorites. I didn’t particularly care for the soundtrack but otherwise I was pleased with the visual designs.
The gaming world and arcades have changed a lot in the last 10 years, and the simple fact that games such as this still exist is something I treasure. Even when they don’t pan out to be exactly as good as some of their predecessors, it’s appreciated. For the price, the nostalgia, or just a really fun old school game experience to play on your PS4, I’d say Sky Force Anniversary is totally worth it.
Favorite moment: should read: Those zen like moments when finally upgrading your ship leads way to victory.
Worst moment: When you just barely almost make it to the end of the level and die… welp time to try again!
Review copy of game provided by publisher.