Out of all the games on show at Nintendo’s last Indie World showcase, it was Sky Racket that stood out to me the most. As a long-time fan of both block-breaking titles and schmups, it ticked PLENTY of boxes for me – the charming and colourful 16-bit aesthetic was just the cherry on top. Fortunately, the game plays as good as it looks, with its whimsical and jolly adventure a real pleasure to blast through both alone or with a friend.
Sky Racket’s premise is fairly straight-forward, with players either playing solo or with a local co-op partner as they zoom through a variety of side-scrolling levels where they can only take down enemies by volleying their projectiles back at them. These projectiles will continually blast around the environment and can be hit multiple times too, whilst the blocks that’ll inhabit each area of a level can be smashed to pieces on the way. You’ll build up a score as you work through these levels and even get the additional help of buddies along the way (who can be game-changers with their useful abilities), with each level full of action-packed showdowns that fill the screen with projectile-blasting carnage. It’s good fun!
Whilst Sky Racket is fairly simple in design, it does have a tactical edge thanks to the way some of the gameplay mechanics are implemented. For one, you can’t just mash your racket without a care in the world, but instead see small pauses between each swing – this means that you’ve got to wait until any incoming projectile is right in your hitting range before you strike, otherwise you might leave yourself vulnerable to damage. This isn’t too big of a problem on some of the earlier levels, but when you come to areas where you have an influx of projectiles coming your way, timing can be everything.
Your boost manoeuvre can be utilised in different ways too, with it essential in not only getting you out of the way of incoming attacks but also setting you up to launch some of your own. You’ve got a fairly slow movement speed in Sky Racket and a lot of the time you won’t be able to get in front of a projectile in time in order to hit it back. Naturally then, the best way to get there is by boosting in front of the attack, which may seem counter-intuitive given that it’s typically a defensive manoeuvre but it actually proves vital in taking down enemies here. Again, it adds an extra element of tactical thought to Sky Racket that really compliments its simple concept.
The game is spread across four worlds, each of which are split up into two regular stages and a boss encounter. The boss encounters were very fun endeavours that introduced a few neat gameplay mechanics to spice things up a little – they were also much tougher than the typical levels themselves, which could be a little bit guilty of being a bit too easy to get through.
With just the four worlds on offer, Sky Racket is a little bit short with it just taking a few hours to get through all of the levels. However, the additional challenges in levels do give you something extra to work for (as well as a bonus if you get them all), whilst the local multiplayer mode will keep you coming back for more when playing with a friend. Sky Racket certainly isn’t a big game, but it has enough replayability to make you feel like you’re getting enough bang for your buck.
I’d be remiss not to mention Sky Racket’s presentation, which is top notch throughout. Its 16-bit visuals are full of character and each of the different environments were a pleasure to fly through as I blasted away at the game’s bizarrely colourful enemies. Add to that a catchy soundtrack that captures the vibe of your favourite releases from the Mega Drive and Super Nintendo, and you’ll quickly find that Sky Racket’s presentation is as charming as its gameplay.
I had a really good time playing Sky Racket, with its genre-mashing gameplay proving both fun and addictive throughout. The main campaign is a little bit on the short side, but with its multiplayer action and the tricky challenges each level offers, there’s plenty here to keep you blasting projectiles back at your enemies for some time.
Add to that the charmingly impressive presentation, and you’ll quickly find that Sky Racket is another Nintendo Switch indie gem that’s worth your attention.
Developer: Double Dash Studios
Publisher: Double Dash Studios
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PC