If you thought chickens weren’t good at flying, then Might Games are here to prove you wrong with Shooty Skies – Endless Arcade Flyer. Coming from the minds behind Crossy Road, this endless take on the vertical-shooter is as visually slick as their previous game – even if it does lack originality and occasionally become visually confused.
The call of Coolthulu
Any gamer will instantly know how to play Shoot Skies. Placing your finger on the screen, you drag around your tiny plane, automatically blasting everything above you as the screen automatically scrolls upwards. If you need some tactics, there is even a charge shot, which builds power while your finger is off the screen – providing an good tradeoff between power and control. From there it’s retro fun all the way, with various power-ups adding to your ship’s power as you rip through your foes.
There is nothing too special in all this, but it’s the impact of the presentation that really makes Shooty Skies stand out. Crossy Road’s visual style is all over it, with the same bright, cartoon-like isometric designs springing from the screen and demanding to be played with.
The characters and enemies build on this. You can control Cats, Cows, even Coolthulus – no I didn’t make that up – that take to the sky to do battle with vending machines, arcade cabinets, and cat videos. Again, all true. Enemies attack with simple patterns, but as the numbers grow you must weave your way through the increasingly insane, boss-fight-punctuated action.
Battle the evil cat videos
The beauty is in the detail. Taking out an enemy near another sees them rocked by the shockwave, giving you precious moments to attack. Then there are the power-ups, which come in a multitude of flavors - including the pun-derful Gunny Rabbit who flies alongside you taking out all in its path. As if this wasn’t enough, characters come with their very own stunning backgrounds to fly over – from Crossy Chicken’s roads to Drippy the cow’s Wild-West landscape.
While it is the visual design that sets Shooty Skies apart, it is also where cracks start to show. With so much going on, at times it can be hard to work out what is meant to help you and what is there to kill you. The isometric background sit at a different angle to the vertically scrolling motion to help a little with this, but they are so detailed and colorful they often only serve to further confuse. Plus - as with many shooters - you often find your own controlling digit obscuring the action.
Free-to-play done perfectly
Like Crossy Road before it, Shooty Skies is pitch perfect free-to-play game that never forces you to pay to enjoy its action, only to unlock extra characters. The controls and gameplay are incredibly tight, with fantastic designs and fun characters to keep you constantly entertained. Its only flaw comes from the fact that this detail can create confusion, leading to some unwarranted deaths – but this does nothing to diminish its fun.