Friday Feature – Guest Post #2

Evening Guild Rats,

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Today’s guest post comes from video game review Kieran Desmond.

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Name of Game: Sky Rogue
Genre: Arcade Flight Simulation, Roguelite
Release Date: 24/08/2017 on PC and 26/04/2018 on Nintendo Switch
Available on what platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch
Developer: Fractal Phase
Publisher: Fractal Phase
Brief one sentence description: “You’re not going to be happy unless you’re going Mach 2 with your hair on fire.”
Link to purchase game: https://store.steampowered.com/app/381020/Sky_Rogue/ https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/Sky-Rogue-1365095.html

Social Media links to game/dev: https://twitter.com/skyroguegame
YouTube video link for trailer if it has one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0nnwEBbwqw

 

Sky Rogue thrusts the arcade flight simulator back into relevance in this delightfully engaging indie title. A title that is made that much more thrilling when played in the optional (and highly recommended) Danger Zone control scheme.

Featuring an infinite number of procedurally generated islands and missions, it is easy to get lost behind the yoke in your cockpit and tell yourself “just one more mission!” and before you know it, it is 4 A.M. and you have a choice: One more mission, or have a couple of hours sleep before the sun inevitably rises on the dawn of a new day.

Sky Rogue’s visuals are charming; making excellent use of a simple, polygonal art style with a pleasing and bold colour palette; Sky Rogue is a breathe of jet fuel tinged fresh air that will remind any Nintendo fan of StarFox 64. What it lacks in any form of a conventional story, it makes up for it with tight gameplay and a myriad of unlockable weapons and aircraft. Each aircraft handle in vastly different ways and most players will find great satisfaction in finding out which aircraft that they fly better through countless hours of experimentation

Three options for control schemes are presented to the player. The default mode being “Arcade”; the perfect choice for those who want to dive straight in and shoot the enemy down. Players who enjoy a more traditional feel to their flight games will relish in turning Arcade mode off, allowing for a greater degree in flexibility in the control of the player’s chosen aircraft. This mode allows the player to perform spins, banking turns, and complete loops, rather than simply turn in the sky. In turn, this grants the player greater accuracy when chasing down enemy drones and evading missiles.

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Those seeking a greater level of enjoyment will find great fun in switching to the Danger Zone control scheme. This enables the player to detach the Joy-Cons and use the Switch’s motion controls. The left Joy-con becomes the throttle, and the right becomes the flight-stick. It is fair to say that Danger Zone isn’t as accurate as using the conventional control schemes, resulting in a somewhat frustrating experience; but who hasn’t wanted to feel like they’re sat in a cockpit of a super-sonic fighter jet? (Go on… Admit it…). Danger Zone provides an additional layer of fun in an already vastly entertaining title. Despite how fun Danger Zone is, it is likely you’ll revert back to conventional controls after a little while of experimenting with it.

Gameplay comprises of a roguelite approach to missions. You’re faced with twelve randomly generated missions over a new island each time. No island is the same, but if play the game for long enough you’ll start see missions repeat themselves. Whether you’re tasked in destroying an enemy fleet, blowing up various buildings or destroying oil-rigs, one thing is for sure: the difficulty soon ramps up. Starting with a first wave of enemy drones which you’ll easily take down, you’ll soon find yourself fighting for space in the sky as the enemy lights it up with drones, Surface To Air Missiles and Anti-Air gun fire from a vast number of targets.

Sky Rogue gives freedom to the player. You can choose to simply take out the targets necessary to complete their mission and return to their base to complete their mission; alternatively you can continue to destroy enemy units to rack up points to unlock new weapons, missiles and aircraft.

You’ll have to bear in mind that as the name suggests; if you die, that’s it. You’re dead. Permanently. All your points will be gone and you will have to restart the twelve missions from scratch, which can be a source of frustration if you’re on the ninth or tenth mission.

In addition to the campaign, players will have access to an endless mode, a free flight mode and the obligatory tutorial mode. As the name suggests in the endless mode, the player is pitted against wave after wave of enemy units to see just how long they can last. Free flight mode is just that; a mode to allow the players to safely get to grips with the controls without the fear of enemy contact and the cold embrace of death stealing away all of your progress. Spending some time in the tutorial is recommended, for both new-comers and veterans alike. Whilst Sky Rogue plays similarly to the Ace Combat titles, it is nuanced enough to warrant spending ten to fifteen minutes learning the basics.

Having clocked up numerous hours playing docked and in handheld mode, I can happily report that Sky Rogue plays phenomenally well in both modes. Whilst a slight frame-rate drop is noticeable in handheld mode, this is only apparent when facing a vast number enemies and especially during busier moments during missions, but even then, it is not a significant drop.

In conclusion, Fractal Phase really have delivered. Sky Rogue gives players a thoroughly entertaining foray into flight simulator games. Whilst there is no discernible story, the gameplay and sheer number of unlockables more than make up for the lack of story and plot. The game is well suited for a commute on the bus or train and for lounging back on the sofa for some thrilling dog-fighting. I would gladly give Sky Rogue an 8 out of 10.

Good:

  • Great and engaging gameplay.
  • Interesting Danger Zone control scheme.
  • Plays well in docked and handheld move.
  • Great visuals.

Bad:

  • Death means death. Goodbye progress.
  • No story or plot in main campaign.
  • Can get rather repetitive, especially when played for a while in one sitting.

 

Kieran reviews games for https://orangebison.com/ a games review site that focuses on indie games.

Find Kieran on twitter: @kieran_119

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ki119

or email: pceditor@OrangeBison.com

Until next time… Keep out of trouble (if you can)

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