Overhead shooters are about as retro as you can get. Even the best looking ones available today on Android or iOS are usually “just” on par with what the SNES was putting out later in its life, let alone newer consoles such as Playstation or Dreamcast. There simply is not a lot that developers are willing to take a chance on, or add expense by adding to the genre, when creating their overhead scrolling shooter. Infinite Dreams are, somewhat, in that boat. The difference is, they hit a winning combination of style and challenge years ago and are improving on it here and there with each new Sky Force game. This is the 10 year anniversary celebration of Sky Force by developer/publisher iDreams.
If you have never played a Sky Force game, you are in for a treat. My first experience with the series was on an old HP iPaq PDA (who remembers those?). Sky Force is not just an everyday overhead scrolling shooter, oh no, while the usual trappings are here, there is a lot more that extends the game beyond the competition. For one, everyone that has wanted to be able to upgrade their ship in interesting ways here you go. As you destroy the enemy, stars and other powerups will be left behind. Collecting the powerups is obvious, some will upgrade rate of fire, shields and more. The stars though, they are used to purchase upgrades between levels, upgrades here are permanent.
The levels are 2.5D which adds quite a bit of depth to the proceedings. Your ship, and the enemy, can fly in between clouds becoming obscured raising the challenge in some parts. Paying attention to everything going on is a chore but thanks to the challenge and the requirement to upgrade, you will be replaying (grinding for RPG fans) the same levels over and over trying to save up for that special upgrade.
The level of detail in the explosions and many of the larger enemies is borderline Neo Geo quality. Just look at some of them like the giant bomber for instance. Stuff blows up real good in Sky Force 2014.
Sky Force is the high watermark for overhead scrolling shooters on mobile devices as far as I am concerned. The challenge level is set to high immediately and only gets harder- for those that grew up playing arcade titles like Raiden or 1941, that is a welcome challenge.
Sky Force by iDreams
Genre: Overhead Scrolling Shooter
In App Purchases: Yes
Device Used For Review: Combination between JXD S7300 (gaming tablet) and ZTE 740 (phone)
Available now on Google Play and the iTunes App Store