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Sky Force Reloaded has a bit of a grind to it, but it's a very good shoot 'em up

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While it has a bit of a grind to it, Sky Force Reloaded [Steam, Official Site] is still an absolutely fantastic shoot 'em up for Linux gamers.

It's essentially a beefed-up version of Sky Force Anniversary, with more of everything. It has different ships to try, new difficulty modes, more upgrades and the list goes on for a while. If you enjoyed Sky Force Anniversary, picking this up should be a no-brainer really.

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I've been a long time fan of shoot 'em ups like this, since my gaming history involves systems like the Amiga, the Sega Megadrive and many more, there was a lot to choose from back in the day. Sky Force Reloaded feels exactly like a shoot 'em up should, in many ways!

Graphically, the game is absolutely gorgeous. It's vibrant, it has a coherent style to it and it looks like a game that was released in 2017. They haven't gone for some retro-inspired style, it's a game that looks and feels very modern while using the tried and tested screen-scrolling shoot 'em up formula.

What's surprising about this one compared to many others similar, is that not all enemies are just floating around the screen as if the terrain doesn't exist. You will have the flying enemies of course, but you also have ground units that move around the terrain. I will give you an example from the first level, see the unit below kicking up a dust cloud? In other such games, it would probably just be background animations, but it's another unit to blow up:

On top of that, the actual style to to the enemies both big and small is visually stunning, especially when you get to blow them up.

Death is not the end in Sky Force Reloaded, far from it. Those stars you've been collecting have a real purpose, as the game features an upgrade system which you can do at any point between missions. You put real sweat into earning them, so thankfully they're rather useful. You can upgrade your main weapon, health, additional weapons, missiles and more.

There is a bit of a grind involved, due to the upgrade mechanic. Some levels are quite difficult, which literally require you to collect stars, die, upgrade and then try again. Thankfully, it doesn't really feel like a grind, since the action is so damn good. Not only that, but each time you have to re-try you're stronger, you've learnt more of their patterns and it doesn't disappoint when you do get further.

The boss battles are fantastic too, they're over the top, they're massive and they sure do throw out a lot of bullets at you. However, they also give out stars like they're going out of fashion. Even if you don't manage to beat a boss on the first 1-2 times, chances are they've enabled you to do another upgrade or two.

If you're after a decent co-op game, this is a pretty good choice too since you can play it alone or team up with a friend locally too.

The only thing that lets it down, is how turning on my Steam Controller after booting it up did not give me gamepad controls, it gave me keyboard controls. To be fair to it, there's a lot of games that fail to do this. I've been spoilt by a number of newer games gracefully switching, but it does work perfectly if you turn it on before you load the game.

You can find the Linux version of Sky Force Reloaded on Steam. I can easily recommend it.

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12 comments
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mirv 28 December 2017 at 8:55 pm UTC
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Game runs really well on less powerful hardware too (kaveri runs it nicely). And the local coop is brilliant for couch gaming.

I've had no technical problems with it, but too much grind required to unlock later levels, in my own opinion (coop fun helped alleviate that somewhat). Otherwise it's a solid game.

So.....pretty much everything said in the article!
Tiedemann 28 December 2017 at 9:47 pm UTC
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I agree on the grind. I wish it had at least twice the number of levels but I guess it wouldn't look that good

This is actually one of very few I've liked over the years. I don't like bullet hell type stuff. Tyrian is the one I go back to now and then because of the upgrades and choices it has. It has a lot more content than this game, but I did also like Warblade which is much simpler.
TapocoL 28 December 2017 at 10:09 pm UTC
The reason I haven't bought this is I already grinded pretty far on android, but the devs said that this wouldn't sync my profile to steam. So, I don't really want to grind again on the computer. Really good game though.
dorron 29 December 2017 at 8:14 am UTC
Just finished SkyForce Anniversary and it's an amazing game. Only thing I was missing was more variety of weapons...which, by the looks of it, seems to be fixed in this one.

Will definitely be getting this one at a later point...
logge 29 December 2017 at 11:52 am UTC
It is a brilliant game. Even the grind is OK, as I have no hurry finishing it. The "hard" Levels even reward with more stars to be more interesting to Play.

Only thing is the Mouse pointer that is stuck in the center of the screen.


Last edited by logge at 29 December 2017 at 11:53 am UTC
slaapliedje 29 December 2017 at 4:03 pm UTC
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This has the same sort of grind as Jydge does. That game is also fun, but I hate having to do the same levels over and over again just to get all of the possible medals, simply so I can unlock the next level. The one who came up with this concept is some sort of sadist.
g000h 30 December 2017 at 1:15 pm UTC
I feel it is a little unfair to call this game "grindy". Yes, by nature of arcade shoot em ups, you keep on repeating a level until you complete it (without dying). In that regard it can be considered "grindy", but it is not grindy in this genre.

It is an improvement on Sky Force: Anniversary, with 15 levels instead of 9 (although I might be missing secret levels on each game). It is hard in my opinion (harder than SF: A). The multiple different ships and technicians in the newer Sky Force: Reloaded are a nice addition, improving the core game. Once you have unlocked each new level you can replay whichever level you fancy, at each of the difficulty levels (also you need to unlock those too). It gives you plenty of diversity in the game.

This is, in my opinion, one of the finest examples of Shoot Em Up Arcade game you'll ever have the pleasure of playing.

Also, I now own a Steam Controller, and while it is easy enough to set up gamepad buttons to correspond to key presses, I find the XBOX 360 gamepad which just works immediately with no messing around, is preferable.

The game runs great in 4K too, even on a lower spec graphics card, e.g. GTX 970 4GB. You'd expect that on a 2D game.

Played close to 25 hours of SF: R so far, and haven't managed to unlock beyond level 11 (out of 15) yet. SF: A - I've unlocked all the levels (but not completed them all on "Insane" difficulty yet).

Highly highly recommend this game (if you like this style).


Last edited by g000h at 30 December 2017 at 1:18 pm UTC
Creak 30 December 2017 at 7:41 pm UTC
I love this game, the gameplay and the game design are incredibly well thought! Always something new to do when you finish a mission, always a small power-up given at the exact right time to make you do just one more mission. This game is addictive

Note: it's a game made with Unity ;)


Last edited by Creak at 30 December 2017 at 7:44 pm UTC
slaapliedje 31 December 2017 at 1:27 am UTC
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g000hI feel it is a little unfair to call this game "grindy". Yes, by nature of arcade shoot em ups, you keep on repeating a level until you complete it (without dying). In that regard it can be considered "grindy", but it is not grindy in this genre.

It is an improvement on Sky Force: Anniversary, with 15 levels instead of 9 (although I might be missing secret levels on each game). It is hard in my opinion (harder than SF: A). The multiple different ships and technicians in the newer Sky Force: Reloaded are a nice addition, improving the core game. Once you have unlocked each new level you can replay whichever level you fancy, at each of the difficulty levels (also you need to unlock those too). It gives you plenty of diversity in the game.

This is, in my opinion, one of the finest examples of Shoot Em Up Arcade game you'll ever have the pleasure of playing.

Also, I now own a Steam Controller, and while it is easy enough to set up gamepad buttons to correspond to key presses, I find the XBOX 360 gamepad which just works immediately with no messing around, is preferable.

The game runs great in 4K too, even on a lower spec graphics card, e.g. GTX 970 4GB. You'd expect that on a 2D game.

Played close to 25 hours of SF: R so far, and haven't managed to unlock beyond level 11 (out of 15) yet. SF: A - I've unlocked all the levels (but not completed them all on "Insane" difficulty yet).

Highly highly recommend this game (if you like this style).

I consider it a grind when they have requi rements like "don't get hit" on a level to be able to unlock a new level.

Or that they extend the number of hours to play by making you play the same levels over and over again. If the game is fun enough (this one), the grind can be excused. When it is boring (Diablo 3), then it should not be. Bith Jydge and this game are a lot of fun, but they do have the exact same unlocking of levels mechanism.
herc 19 January 2018 at 10:05 am UTC
Does anyone know if both this and anniversary uses steam cloud for saves? I'd like to play it on the couch computer, but I'd also need to continue on the desktop computer when the wife wants the TV back.

Only thing I found about the anniversary edition was this developer post on steam community about the windows version saving to the registry. Sounds weird, but it's a developer... Obviously the linux version has to save it somewhere else though. http://steamcommunity.com/app/355050/discussions/0/613956964602061363/
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