Sky Force Reloaded is the second game in the series, but boasts oh so many improvements of the original. It can be found in the Google Play store and the iTunes store for free. I've downloaded and tried a lot of different shmups and this is the first game that is fun to play.
When you start the game you are on the overworld map if you will. The game forces you to replay the levels until you earn a certain amount of medals before the next level will be unlocked. Each level has 4 basic goals: destroy 70% of enemy forces, destroy 100% of enemy forces, rescue all people and stay untouched.
Depending on your skill, the level of difficulty and the aircraft you are using, you may have to play the level multiple times in order to achieve these goals. Once you complete all 4 goals, the next level of difficulty will be unlocked.
Before you set out on your journey, you can select your aircraft from your personal hanger. At the beginning you just have one aircraft and it's pretty weak. It can be upgraded, but more on that in a minute. As you are playing you may come across aircraft parts you can grab. Successfully complete the level and you'll slowly unlock pieces to additional aircraft. As you can see from the above image, I've unlocked nearly all of the available aircraft. My favorite hands down is the one selected, the Octopus. It features multiple homing mini-rockets which really come in handy in the later, more difficult levels.
As you play the game, the destroyed enemies will leave behind stars. This is the games currency and you'll need a lot of these in order to upgrade your aircraft. You have multiple areas you can upgrade and several levels of upgrades. Most of them are self explanatory. The magnet is a helpful tool that I didn't initially pay a lot of attention to. The higher the level, the more the stars will be attracted to your aircraft.
To spice up the gamelay, cards were added to the game. These, like the aircraft parts, show up randomly as you play the game. Most of the time these items only appear on the higher levels of difficulty. These cards add new things to the game or give you new, improved abilities.
Some of the cards may give you a laser to start the game, or increases your rate of fire. Others give you a stationary pod on the side of your aircraft that increases your firepower. The cards however come in two varieties. The ones you see in the first 4 rows are permanent, meaning you don't have to do anything with them. Once you've collected that card, you get that ability. The row of cards on the bottom are temporary cards. These come with a time limit that gives you some nice boosts...such as unlimited lives or maximum firepower. Of course once the time expires so does your boost in power.
New to Reloaded are pilots. You unlock these by completing certain objectives. I already played the game a lot to begin with, but now you are rewarded even more for your persistence. There are multiple Objectives to obtain, more than you see above. The more you get, the more pilots you unlock. Each pilot brings something different to the table. Currently I've been using Burton Panic as he will random trigger your laser or emit a bullet clearing EMP blast at times.
As you beat the bosses on select levels, you unlock golden trophies that you can easily share via social media. It always tracks the number of attempts (and the date) it took to beat the boss as well as the different difficulty levels you've completed.
At the end of the level you are given a summary, tallying up your base score, stars collected, humans rescued, etc. If you beat your previous best score, it will add it to your high score which is a collection of your final scores.
Enough of the boring menu screens, want to see some actual gameplay? Using my iPhone I tried to record myself playing through a few levels. It was hard looking through the phone trying to play the game and ultimately I didn't do as well as I'm capable of, but hopefully you'll get an idea of just how much fun this game is.
Through one of the many updates to the game, it now is easier to find others to play the game with. You can compete for the top score and play weekly tournaments against each other. If you like what you see and want to add me to your friends list, use this ID:
91 22 69 72
Sky Force Reloaded, and the first game, Sky Force, are some really fun shmups. They don't feel cheap like a lot of the shmup games I've found in the Google Play store. I wish I had a way to play the game on my TV with a proper controller, but for now this is my go to game that I enjoy playing for 30 mins or whatever each evening.
I will add that right now for the month of December, there is a special Christmas themed level you can play and compete in a month long high score tournament. You can't use any of your unlocked aircraft from your hanger, but give it a try as it's a challenging level with laser shooting snowmen that are sure to infuriate you!