When life throws everything at you, what else can you do but throw it right back? Torchlight Games takes this mantra to heart with their new arcade title Skyrift. Chucking enemy projectiles might be a good way to save your hide, but does it dish out a good time?
As the last defense robot of its kind, the weight of the universe rests on your narrow shoulders. Alien forces are attacking on all fronts, and it’s up to your lonesome self to protect humanity with the tools at your disposal. It’s a worn out plot device, sure, but this title prides itself on its action.
Players are given 360 degrees to move around, and can turn on a dime with the use of the mouse. This system works surprisingly well, and comes across as a lifesaver in the more difficult settings. It can be a bit on the snappy side, but it is better than the alternative of it being too sluggish.
It’s not enough to just be facing the fire from the Rhino and Mothership threats; one must also make the most of the energy meter as well. Whether one is defending, grabbing, or throwing, turning the defensive into the offensive requires the use of energy. A well timed reflection nets some meter, but those who are a bit more aloof with their timing must wait for it to charge back up. For those on the ropes, a Shockwave attack can also be used to turn the tides.
There are three different projectiles one must contend with, with certain ones requiring different strategies. Though they are all color coded to red, green, and blue, the lack of transparency of the main character means that the view is obscured. This isn’t terrible on the Easy difficulty, but it quickly proves to be a nuisance on the Normal and Hard difficulty settings. Grabbing when you should have been blocking can ruin a run, as there’s no way to recover health from what we saw.
Note that this is one title where what you see is what you get. The main objective remains the same throughout, and though the threat of hulking motherships does rear its ugly head, expect a bit of repetition to sink in. Something akin to levels, or perhaps a wider variety of enemy types, would have alleviated the tedium.
There is some replayability in Skyrift for those looking for it. A number of unlockable cosmetics can be unlocked for completing in-game objectives, and there are a fair amount of achievements to be had. There are also Global Leaderboards for each difficulty setting, though they are scarcely populated as of this writing.
Note that this game has a few bugs to contend with. We were unable to open it on one occasion, and other quirks like the inability to throw also showed up. These are not dealbreakers, but rather things to be mindful of.
Skyrift’s defensive style of play provides fast-paced arcade action, albeit with a few quirks. It’s not the deepest game around, but those looking for a different kind of bullet hell could do far worse than this title.
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