[New Retro Vault] Sky Rogue

Sky Rogue harks back to the low poly games of an earlier era, such as Virtua Racing and Air/Ace Combat for the PSX. I mention Virtua Racing though specifically, because much like that game, Sky Rogue carries with it a distinctly arcade feel. It’s bright, colourful, action-packed and, yes, it’s challenging.

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Released about 1.5 years ago, Sky Rogue steps you into the cockpit of a doomed plane, destined to fight an endless war over probably insignificant islands before inevitably exploding.Political underbelly aside, it is a great excuse to fly around and blow stuff up. The lack of overarching narrative explicitly driving the tale of exploding random structures on islands leaves it as just you, your plane and the wild blue yonder.

As far as controls and gameplay go, everything feels pretty smooth, with the low poly tech giving Sky Rogue some sort of implied zippiness that modern games lack. There’s little in the way of you and your targets, no cutscenes or quicktime events or party member romances to worry about here, just good ‘ol clean arcade-style blasting fun. Your flying death machine has the usual arsenal, including guided missiles and a machine gun – though the demo limits you to a single plane and basic loadout.

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But take heed, Sky Rogue does demand skill. Its colourful arcade-style accessibility is deceiving – this is a game for serious dog fighters. As the “rogue” in the name might suggest, there are indeed some roguelike elements at play here; namely, procedurally generated levels and our old friend permadeath.

Flying a plane, funnily enough, tends to be much harder than driving a car or simply running left-to-right as in most of the games we cover, and as such I veritably suck at flying the dam thing. The biggest enemy I faced was not the various drones or missile batteries firing at me, no. It was my own base. Landing on the bloody thing was usually far harder than dispatching any foes, requiring you to enter from exactly the right angle at minimum speed – a task made no easier when enemies are busily firing at you as they seem so eager to do for some unfathomable reason. In my  last attempt, I almost made it back on to the base – but was exploded by an errant missile just before the crucial moment of glorious landing.

While my Top Gun career may have ended far quicker than Goose’s, I’m pretty sure that’s just on me and not the game’s fault – since I haven’t played a 3D flyer since the aforementioned Ace Combat series, and the reviews on Steam are overwhelmingly positive.

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The full game is available on Itch.io and Steam for around $10, but there’s a free demo available.

Sky Rogue | Itch.io (+demo) / Steam

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About J.C

I grew up in the dark dingy arcades of the 1980s, blasting heads with Robocop 2, but grew up in an era that spanned the introduction of the x86 home computer, through to the 16-bit revolution, into the polygon age and beyond. I write about food, travel and of course, New Retro Games. I started newretrogames.wordpress.com and contribute to www.thecitylane.com. I am also a freelance business researcher, writer, and editor having published academic and corporate articles on innovation and intellectual property.

Posted on November 28, 2016, in Arcade and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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