What if you took Ace Combat, my favorite game series, turned up the arcadeness and made it a roguelite? You get Sky Rogue. Naturally, this quickly became one of my favorite games ever.
The controls are smooth, simple, and super fun with true full 6DoF control, the planes all feel good to fly with some good variety, and the loadout system is decently varied and forces you to make sacrifices if you want a lot of firepower. Of course, the variety doesn’t really matter to me since I play this game in one very specific way, but the options are definitely there. And with that said, this game can essentially be boiled down to “fly this plane and shoot the other planes forever”, but that does Sky Rogue a massive disservice. At the time of writing, I’ve got about 19 hours in the game and haven’t gotten bored of my one playstyle yet, so clearly the gameplay is good enough to last even without variety.
The only thing the controls are missing in my opinion is a high-G turn similar to Ace Combat, but maneuverability is so high with some planes at low speeds that it’s not really necessary, it just takes some getting used to. Swing wing planes have a huge advantage in this regard so I end up always using them. It’s quite challenging too, ramping the difficulty up from engaging to 100% high alert over the course of the days. It gets to the point where it can start feeling downright unfair later on if you’re not well equipped or skilled enough. Then, once you complete the game, you unlock some ridiculous overpowered toys to play with and wipe the floor with the final boss in 15 seconds for fun, like a laser that shoots things through other things. It’s great.
It’s a beautiful game too, and super stylish. Easily one of the nicest low poly art styles I’ve ever had the pleasure of looking at, and it’s nice and colorful. It’s matched in the audio department too as the sound effects are all simple and nice, and the soundtrack by Phonetic Hero is a joy to listen to. It seems like there’s no limiting at all on the audio though because if you cause too many explosions at once, it gets so loud that the audio cuts out entirely for a moment. The music occasionally glitches a bit and starts playing over itself too, but neither of these things are deal breakers by any means. Honestly, I can only come up with a single genuine complaint I have with this game, and it’s that the incoming missile indicators don’t show distance, only direction, so unless you’ve got your thumb on the right stick at all times to physically look at the incoming missiles, you need to have ESP to time your dodges most of the time, which leads to an over-reliance on flares.
There’s also little lore tidbits on just about everything in the game, which is fun. There’s mod support and people can make custom missions, which is neat. There’s an endless mode and local co-op, pretty cool. And that about covers it. It’s a deceptively simple game that’s a very rewarding blast to drop into at any time for a few minutes or a few hours. As a rad little bonus that only makes all this coolness even cooler, this game was made by only two people.
Play Sky Rogue, right now. Buy it on itch if you can.