As there aren’t many reviews here on Caffeine Gaming, or at that, very much Gaming News about early access games, let me kick it off with the genre that I seem to have an obsession with!
Sky Knights, the early access game, is the topic of today’s review. Developed by Hampus Bankler, a former senior game programmer for Rovio, prime architect of Angry Birds 2 and a military fighter jet mechanic, almost everything in the game is done by one sole man. The game is a bird’s eye view flying game that involves a PvP mode and a PvE mode of sorts. The game features 4v4 air battles in which players have to destroy enemy bases and cripple the opponent’s morale!
As it currently stands, I love this early access game and let me explain why:
Sky Knights is a very fast paced and difficult flying game. It’s never easy to take out an opponent and PvP battles are insanely hard, especially when going up against an experienced player. In the game, you have a set amount of ammo, just as you would in real life. With the 3 classes that there are you have different armaments. One plane is a balance between air and ground attacks, the second a bomber and the third is a dogfighter. If you run out of ammo for your bombs/rockets/machine gun you must return to your base and land. “This sounds annoying”, you might think, but it adds a level of balance and always opens opportunity for the game to switch sides. It allows extra strategy, as if all your planes go to land, nobody can defend your bases from the ground units and enemy planes.
Being difficult and strategic aren’t the only areas which Sky Knights nails. It is astonishingly fluid. The planes move in such an amazing way and it never feels like they move in a jagged way. If you press the SPACE key it allows you to do extra manoeuvres to avoid missiles and switch the tide of a dogfight. However, you also have stamina to balance this out. Pilots can’t constantly sustain high G’s and the developer knows this quite well. Pilots must fly straight in order to replenish their stamina, adding yet another strategic element into the game. If you don’t manage your stamina, you will be caught off guard and death will fall upon you.
The game also contains a levelling up mechanic, allowing players to add perks to their pilot. The game also features a plane upgrade mechanic, in which the player earns points to add upgrades to their plane. Armour packages, extra fuel for afterburner, harder hitting ammo and extra bombs describe a few of the upgrades available in game. There is also a customization element in the game, in which the players can add different decals onto their planes.
This game has done something fairly annoying which is quite heavily affecting my review. I simply cannot think of enough negatives to balance the review out. This sucks so much as I usually write about a 50/50 ratio for positives and negatives or at least try to. Let me give it a shot either way.
I couldn’t think of very much and neither could the community. Aside from a lack of their favourite planes and more pilot pictures they didn’t really have more negatives! For them the gameplay is solid and very good, which I agree with, but I have thought of something. The game has a very linear pattern on the current map. All the bases are in a single line down the centre of the map, which I feel hinders some interesting types of games. It is much easier to defend a single point on a front, as opposed to defending a front that isn’t straight. If the bases were scattered out a bit it could prove to be quite interesting. Players would have to choose whether to attack of just defend, as there would be no way to always fly past an enemy pilot.
So would I recommend this game? Oh yes I would and I will! The game is so balanced that I have seen bombers take out fighters, simply because of skill. The game is really fun and the community are so nice! Although it isn’t mentioned in the official description, the game is a MOBA. A very very fast paced and simple MOBA. I left this as my final comment because I know people hear the word MOBA and shy away from games. I am a culprit of doing this. MOBAs have such a negative connotation because of the communities that they have. However, on a technical level, anything that isn’t open world and has multiplayer with fighting and PvP, is a MOBA. Call of Duty can be classed as a MOBA, Battlefield too, Overwatch and even CS:GO. Despite being MOBAs, I still love these games just as I love Sky Knights.
-Gregory Neale (X_Pilot)