Dog eat dog.
There’s something really liberating about taking to the sky in an aircraft, whether it’s flying a Loftwing in Skyward Sword, or taking off in a commercial airplane and exploring the land of San Andreas in GTA:V – you’re free from the constraints of land, free to soar up into the clouds, and in the case of Skies of Fury DX, free to rain down lots of bullets on your foes. That’s really the core of Seed Interactive’s mobile port – you take control of a variety of military aircrafts during World War One (or at least, a very stylised aspect of World War One) across a multitude of bite-sized missions that see you dogfighting with the enemy, escorting your allies and piloting through a series of hoops whilst shooting down targets.
Like all mobile ports, there’s an entirely rational fear that the game won’t be up to scratch on console. Will it perform adequately? Will it shoehorn in touch controls? Thankfully, questions like these are pretty much moot with Skies of Fury DX – this is a port that takes full advantage of the Switch’s capabilities, displaying gorgeous visuals along with pinpoint accurate pilot controls via the two analogue sticks.
You increase or decrease your speed with the left stick and pitch/roll with the right stick (purists can also invert the right stick for classic aircraft controls), whilst weaponry is mapped to the shoulder buttons. It also features a great targeting system should you find yourself a bit lost amongst the chaos – tapping R will focus the camera on one of your foes whilst simultaneously guiding your craft towards its general direction. Once you’ve got the enemy in your sights, you tap A to revert back to the standard view and unleash hell. It’s a simple but effective way to ensure that you’re never too far from the fight, and newcomers getting to grips with the flight controls will definitely appreciate it.
The main bulk of the game is a mission-based campaign mode, where you’ll need to complete a series of tasks as part of the Allies and the Central Powers. Sadly, there’s little to differentiate the two sides bar slightly different aircraft, but there’s plenty to enjoy in this mode either way. Completing missions will gain you experience points – levelling up your pilot will grant you both skill points and – wait for it – loot boxes (alright, chill out folks). You can utilize your skill points to level up your craft’s health, weaponry and manoeuvrability whilst the loot boxes will grant cosmetic items such as vehicle skins and reticles. Don’t worry, the game is very generous with these loot boxes and there is no option available to part with any money.
Should you prefer more of an arcade style of play, there’s a basic ‘horde’ mode that sees you and up to three friends go up against wave after wave of enemies, each increasing in difficulty. Sadly, there’s no online play supported, but getting together with a friend to partake in a good old-fashioned dogfight is just as fun as it sounds! The game as a whole is admittedly in constant danger of feeling slightly repetitive with the limited modes of play available, but the gameplay itself is so strong that it’s really hard not to recommend it.