Blue Skies: Air Force Academy, a new top-down shooter from Rocking Pocket Games, hit the App Store yesterday at a $9.99 price point. Judging from the media we’ve seen, the gameplay looks similar to classic arcade shooters like 1942, only you can fly all over the map, ala Warhawk. The game seems to have a sharp sense of humor, too, if the cutscenes are any indication. We’ll get back to you with a full review ASAP. In the meantime, check out the screens and video.
Take a powerful attack chopper, add a whole load of enemies, and throw it all on some randomly-created maps. What do you get? Blue Skies, one of the better top-down shooters we’ve played on the iDevices.
In Blue Skies, you’re given the helm of a powerful assault helicopter armed to the teeth with super-destructive weapons. The gameplay is all about blowing away whichever enemies are highlighted. These baddies are both ground-bound and aerial, ranging from tanks and helicopters to fighters and bombers. And while these computer-controlled targets don’t provide that much of a challenge, the sheer numbers of bad guys in the later levels more than makes up for their relative stupidity.
Blue Skies sports 30 different levels to try out, plus nearly limitless play with the randomly-generated arcade modes. Sadly, the levels aren’t that big, so they only take a few seconds to fly across. There is a story as well–something to do with a sinister villain named Hans scheming on your country. It isn’t really that deep, but it’s a good way of tying the missions together.
We found Blue Skies’ gameplay to be intuitive and enjoyable. The controls are straightforward: you control the copter’s movement by tilting the device, and tap the corners of the screen to fire different weapons. The graphics are of very high quality, and the special effects such as rain and explosions are lovely. In addition, the combat animations are very smooth, and it’s quite clear that a lot of work went into them. We found the sound to be alright, but its quality doesn’t match that of the visuals. It also bothered us that Blue Skies disallows iPod playback.
Nevertheless, if it’s a fast-paced shooting game you want, Blue Skies is for you. It’s great for playing in short bursts, and its level-generating capabilities give it a lot of replay value to boot. We think it’s a good deal for $2.99.