If I had to design a shmup, it would play a heck of a lot like Sky Force Reloaded. It is that good.
Let me explain. My favorite part about shmups is that sensation of piloting an overpowered ship that just shreds everything in its path. Most shmups give you a taste of that but . . . one or a few hits and youre back to a peashooter. Not Sky Force. You can die, and youll die alot, but your power ups are never lost. Your ship grows more and more powerful and you can accomplish more and more on each level. This gives SFR a sense of career mode, which is something I've new experienced in a shmup.
Before I get too far into the weeds, let me back up. Sky Force Reloaded is a top down vertical shooter. You fly a futuristic military plane against a legion of baddies. The Sky Force series has its origin on mobile and an edition on the Wii U. SFR is based upon a mobile game of same name, but there are no micro-transactions and the game is FULL 16:9 SCREEN . . . NO BORDERS!
Each of the 13 campaign mission has four goals besides surviving the level and whipping the boss: you get medals for 70% kills, 100% kills, 100% hostage rescue, and no-damage runs. You also get a point bonus for 100% star recovery. This makes each run unique and requires strategy. Until your ship is really pimped out and you've learned the level, it is only realistic to attain one of these at a time (later it is possible to earn em all at once). So you might start out trying for 100% kills, but one plane might slip by and then your strategy may :pottymouth: to 100% hostage rescue.
The hostage rescue is a really excellent facet of the game. There are 8-16 downed pilots in each mission. To rescue them, you must hover your ship over them for a few seconds, all the while avoiding enemy fire. Why bother? Well, besides the medal and points, a rescued pilot lets out a "YEE-HAW!!" which has to be THE most rewarding sound effect ever. I have literally started stages saying the heck with pilot rescue but between that sound effect and the funny little emoji-filled thought bubbles over them (they get twerked when you pass them by!), I've endeavored to save 'em all.
Plus, each mission has 4 difficulty levels...so bullet-hell fans, hang in there, bullet hell awaits at the insane and nightmare difficulties. There are also 2 ultra hard bonus missions after the main campaign (I believe these were originally released as DLC for the mobile game).
During a mission, you collect stars from the baddies you blow up. These stars serve as the currency for ship upgrades. You might also collect a temporary power-up card, a permanent power-up card or a part for a new ship.
Hopefully, I'm making the point that this is a shmup with incredible depth. At a priceof $10, it is an absolute steal IMHO.
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