Game Title: Sky Force Anniversary
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Game Type: Vita
Download: 248 MB
NA Availability: Digital Download
EU Availability: Digital Download
PSTV Support: Yes
Shoot-em-up games involving aircraft. This genre has been around for a very long time. I remember playing Thunderblade on Sega Genesis for the first time and it was always a blast. There could even be a case made for the original Space Invaders for being one of the early games of this genre.
The PS Vita has seen its fair share of the genre and that has increased with a stealthy release not many weeks ago. If you’re familiar with the Sky Force series, you can add the Vita to the list of systems the series is available on now. Alongside the Steam, Apple TV, PS3, and PS4, here is my review of the Vita and PSTV version of Sky Force Anniversary!
Due to this game not having a storyline, this section shall remain blank.
Sky Force Anniversary is a vertical shoot-em up game. It is a remake of the original Sky Force and as such, has you going through stages with the goal of downing as many enemies as possible until you reach a boss at the end and doing the same to them.
When you progress through the game, you’ll be going from stages of the campaign back to your base and repeat the process. The most important aspect here is that you gain points in missions that you can use to buy upgrades for your plane. The game will start out difficult, but get easier the more upgrades you buy. This is key to being able to pass missions and go into the next in the campaign.
The biggest aspect of this is that it isn’t as simple as flying through and finishing a mission. You can only unlock the next mission by completing objectives within each mission. There are both enemies to fight and stranded humans to recover. Many of the objectives involve defeating a certain percent of the total enemies as well as saving all stranded humans. This is a difficult process since the enemies appear in short waves and once they’re gone, you missed them.
This increases the length of the game, but also makes it repetitive. Some stages will require you to memorize where and when enemies show up, so you’ll have to play them several times before you can pass enough objectives to complete them, or to have enough points for the upgrades you need to complete them.
This is a blemish on an otherwise fun experience. Each stage has a lot of enemies and each stage is fun in the strategy of fighting and saving as well as being able to upgrade and make your ship that much more intimidating to the mobs of enemies that are always coming at you.
Another thing I’ll mention is the fact that the co-op mode that made the Steam version a lot of fun for friends is missing from the handheld release. Although it was confusing enough to even figure out how to get the multiplayer working on Steam (Connect a second controller and it auto-populates another plane on screen), the Vita version had that feature omitted. No local or online.
Finally, let’s talk about the length. Sky Force Anniversary has 9 stages for you to go through. Each stage takes roughly 5 minutes to complete once. So going through each once takes about an hour. Accounting for multiple plays for upgrades and working on objectives and we’re still only looking at around 3 hours, give or take. Without the addition of co-op, there’s not much replay value here. It’s fun, but not very long.
Controlling the game is a pretty simple task. PlayStation TV / Vita TV owners will be happy to know that it is very compatible with Sony’s micro-console. There aren’t any special controls for it there, but it’s there.
The main controls are simple enough. When you’re in a stage, you can use either the D-Pad or Left Analog Stick to move around. The R trigger can shoot, and you can gain some extra features for the other buttons when you upgrade your ship further. It’s pretty simple to go into.
The game looks very colorful and vibrant on both the handheld screen and the big screen. Whether you’re saving a passenger or duking it out with a giant battleship, it’ll look quite pretty.
The performance side of things is going well. The developers had said once that it was difficult to make the PS Vita version of the game. But, kudos to them for making it work well instead of doing what many other developers do and finish it with it not running the best it can.