Shoot ‘em ups that put you in a plane is a genre that was rampantly
common in the good old arcade days but is now more or less extinct.
Sky Force Reloaded mixes up the elements that made the classic plane shooters fun and also gives it a bit of a modern spin.
It delivers an experience, however, that does not care too much about being accessible due to its unforgiving difficulty.
So there are two ways this can possibly go, and that’s either executing it in a very entertaining and refreshing way or just dishing out another forgettable mobile game that does not help a dying genre’s case.
Sky Force Reloaded offers you everything that you’d expect from a great plane shooter as soon as it begins.
You will encounter different types of enemies such as tanks, airplanes(of course), turrets, and more.
Additionally, every level has side goals (like recusing hostages, not taking a hit, etc) that you can complete which gives you extra coins.
Once you get to the end of a level, there’s almost always a boss fight which is pretty fun in general but you start over from the beginning if you die.
There are many power-ups throughout the game which is something you’d expect, and you can upgrade your plane in various departments through the game’s rich upgrade system. Each upgrade has a cool-down of how long it will take to apply and you would have to use extra coins to make it happen faster.
If you find yourself constantly dying at a level, don’t give up just yet. Even in the early stages, the levels can be very unforgiving, and you will need precision reflexes and sufficient upgrades to get through.
I kept dying at certain levels until I farmed enough coins, and once that was done the levels became much more manageable because enemies died quicker due to my new upgrades.
The graphics of Sky Force Reloaded are surprisingly crisp and feature detailed environments that have beautiful 3D
textures. The perspective from the ground level and the skies you roam are rendered very well.
I wasn’t expecting such a focus on the graphics in a game like this, so it definitely stands out as a major strong point.
The UI is well-made and feels professional, with no rough edges whatsoever and provides a premium feeling that really fits with the game’s general theme.
The game also avoids the sin of aesthetic repetition because different levels of the game feature different types of environments and color grading, and that keeps things exciting.
Another thing that surprised me is the sound design, as the sound effects for everything are so well-produced and every tiny thing has a little sound of its own that really makes the game’s world feel alive and immersive. As you progress to different levels, the background music changes too and that keeps the game design feeling unique in all aspects.
The game also has really decent voice acting, which is at times purposefully cheesy to match its humor. There is not much of a story but the characters can be quite funny at times.
Ads are mostly optional, but they do slip in every now and then once levels are completed or if you die. Some of them are skippable and if your internet isn’t doing too well the game offers you the reward by itself, which is nice.
As great as the game is - it probably becomes too grindy at a later point for the average player because of the difficulty, and at times you would definitely feel the need to spend money just to be able to progress better.
Sky Force Reloaded is a great love letter to a fading genre and deserves both praise and recognition for being a truly enjoyable mobile game. It looks amazing, plays fantastic, and it's just greatly polished throughout.