The legendary shoot-’em-up is here to celebrate its 10-year anniversary in super-destructive style. Harnessing the intensity of classic arcade games combined with modern visuals, Sky Force Anniversary offers a stunning scrolling shooter experience with an incredible new social gameplay element. Check out our review below..
Sky Force Anniversary is part of the classic vertical shoot-em up genre that people will know if they’re older gamers or played games like the Raiden series. Although now it’s quite an uncommon genre of games and can be quite hard to make appealing over other arcade games to a new audience I feel that Sky Force does just that. Especially with the game coming back after the original’s early 2000s release.
After a quick introductory level where we see our half upgraded original ship be destroyed by the main antagonist we are taken to the main menu where we are able to begin. We are met with a handful of levels which must be worked through in order to progress as well as a weekly challenge which you can take on should you choose to. Each level has multiple difficulties which can keep the game challenging, even at the point of being maxed out on upgrades. The difficulties keep you coming back to each level since you have to earn all medals on a difficulty before the next is unlocked. So for example; you will need to unlock all medals on a normal difficulty level to unlock hard and so on.
If you want any chance of beating these levels with all the medals unlocked you’re going to need upgrades. This is where stars come in. As you defeat enemies and clear other things such as boxes out of the environment you can collect stars which can then be spent on upgrades for your ship. These upgrades consist of additional weapon upgrades, a magnet to automatically bring stars to you and three special weapons among other things. It should be noted that the special weapons require stars to be spent on ammo for them or alternatively you can find ammo in the levels although this is a rare occurrence.
Thankfully there are no microtransactions in the anniversary edition unlike the original mobile release which was a great decision on the developer’s part since they would’ve definitely destroyed the aim of the game since farming for stars is where a lot of the replay value comes in. On top of this there is also bonus upgrades which can be unlocked by finding cards which randomly appear as you play through levels.
The level design in the game is simplistic yet rewarding for those that take the time to learn, especially at harder difficulties. Upgrades are needed if you expect to get anywhere but when it comes to Sky Force they didn’t just make it a matter of spraying shots everywhere until you finally get rid of the boss. As the game goes on and you find yourself at the end game difficulties you will end up being required to have good timing and knowledge of the levels prior to making that run for the medals, so thankfully there is more to the game than just the grind for maxed out upgrades. This method of gaining replayability won’t attract everyone but it definitely gives the more hardcore players something to work towards since the game is rather easy and can be passed with little knowledge of levels on the lower difficulties.