For a top-down scrolling shooter, Burning Skies sure fails to blaze ahead of the competition. In this game, you play the role of a member of your nation’s elite fighter unit “Raptor Squadron” in defending your homeland against the massive air armada of the Terastian Empire. Your squad is then required to make a rapid pre-emptive strike against the enemy by taking the fight to their skies and as the game says make ‘em burn.
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As a shooter, Burning Skies has all those elements that would call it a top-down scrolling shooter. However in terms of competing with other top-down scrolling shooters Burning Skies might get blown to bits. I’m not saying Burning Skies is a bad game but when you already have a lot of other games like it in the market being mediocre just doesn’t measure enough. Oh sure it has all the basic elements but just because you have all the elements required doesn’t mean you were able to put them together right.
The game provides you with a fighter plane that automatically shoots when there are enemies around. This kinda takes out a lot of fun from the game as you can’t control when to shoot your primary weapon at all as the developers decided that your main guns will only shoot whenever there are enemy fighters around. For some players who tend to memorize the patterns of a stage well there goes the pre-emptive strike we were talking about. Maybe the developers did it to make the game more challenging? The only weapon of which you have fire control is your secondary one in which your plane drops a bomb on the ground. The bomb is for all the buildings and other ground targets such as turrets. Aiming the bomb however requires some amount of time as you have to line up on the target and then drop the bomb. Good thing however is that you have an infinite number of bombs so you could like keep the button pressed and leave a trail of burning ground on your wake. Aside from all the shooting and ground razing, the other part of the gameplay is maneuvering your fighter to avoid the enemy fighter planes, their fire, the buildings, the ground turrets and their fire. The enemy fire is red or blue colored ball (depending on who fire it) that travels slowly so you can easily dodge it, however dodging with all the other incoming solid objects coming your way such as other fighter planes and buildings can be quite challenging. This part of the gameplay the developers decided to make it easier for the players as they arranged for your fighter plane to really have a long life, meaning your plane can really take a lot of punishment before it can go down. And with the sometimes random pattern of enemy fire this sure is helpful and makes the game a lot easier as you can’t really dodge all of them. However if in the unfortunate event your fighter plane do get shot down you start again at the beginning of the level. And ofcourse, there are the power-ups which increases either your plane’s defense or offense capability, of which I commend the developers on making them easily identifiable.
As I play the game more in the end I feel like I’m playing a beta build rather than that of what a released version should be. I honestly believe that the game could have blazed a little farther more, hopefully if it gets reincarnated in a sequel developers could do a lot better in fixing the gameplay. Also they could fix the little things such as the little thing of when your pausing the game you have to go over the option twice, and then twice again if your going to resume the game, fixing little things such as this could go make this game fly a bit longer. Aside from the gameplay and interface problems, the game stands out in having high quality graphics but beauty can only take you so far if you don’t have any other skills besides looking good. Lastly I’d like to add that the game’s sounds... aside from the occasional explosions the game plays silently which doesn’t feel good at all.
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