Posted: January 10, 2014
Jump to the end for a quick conclusion.
This is a hard one to review. Really Big Sky is a twin stick shooter, a bit bullet-hell-ish at times with.
I really enjoyed the first couple of hours I played it, but it soon revealed itself. There are several thing I really like about this game, but their implementation leaves a lot to be desired, specially from a balance standpoint.
I'll start with the pros of Really Big Sky:
-It looks great! Even from the screenshots you can see that, but it looks much prettier in motion. There are a few resolution issues, but I was running it at 720p and it looked pretty good. I used this game has a pause between work, so playing in a smaller window didn't realy bother me.
-Several modes. There is a classic mode, which includes bosses, events, scores, and shop in which you buy upgrades. There are modes that focus on difficulty, not attacking, giving a retro feel to the game, for just relaxing without worrying about scores and dying etc. So, there is choice, that's a plus.
-Shop in the Classic mode let's you upgrade the parts you prefer and give you a sense of progression (which is also one of its faults)
-Very detailed information. Everytime you end a run you get a score screen with more entries than anyone needs, really. And also a comparation to your average run, having the player strive to get better. Besides, there's a library with information about modes, events, bosses, upgrades, and so on. That's good, although it's way too detailed, and I doubt that anyone would go out of their way to read it all. I think that showing the entries as tips throughout loading screens would be more useful.
-Bosses respect certain patterns, which change according to difficulty.
-Decent variety in enemies, events and locations.
-The music was pretty good. Not really my cup-of-tea, but I see some people really enjoying. Plus, it fit the context of the game.
Now, the problems I have with it, some of them inherent with the pros' bad implementation, in my opinion:
-The visuals are full of particle effects and filter changes, which can get a mess too often. Between those changes, you'll often lose track of what is on the screen, and what damages you or not. Most of the times, you'll die from something you didn't see. Also, it has performance issues later in the game, where particle effects are too many. I have a GTX660Ti and a 3.4GHz Quad Core... and it dropped to 5 fps at one time. That's pretty bad. But it ran mostly well on it. Still a reason to beware.
-Bugs. Well, everytime I quit the game it crashed. That's not a big deal. Everytime I tried to see the Scores (as this is mostly as arcade game), it crashed. That's a problem now. And highly diminished the game's value. If there is no one to beat, why would I play more of it, after a while? Score attack games are fueled by.. well, score. This game has it broken. There are also a lot of people who can't get the game to run.
-Dificulty Curve and balance. This is the worse part of the game. In the beginning, you're essentially running on trial and error, dying over and over until you learn how to get through certain things. But that's ok, learning the patterns and so on. But, as you progress through the game, it just gets a blurred mess in which there is no skill, and your score is mainly dependent on what you buy from the shop. And luck with the events you get. It's more of a grind-fest than struggling to get better at the game, since all you do after a while is to upgrade the ship and hope that the screen doesn't get too crumped with enemies and filters.
-All the modes are too similar to increase the game's longevity too much. There's no drive to really play them, since most don't change too much about the game. The big one being Pacifist, in which you can't shoot, only dodge.
This is a game that is pretty, although relying entirely on particle effects and filter to achieve so, which often gets very messy.
Progression is through grind and trial and error rather than skill, which isn't very good either.
BUT, what I've played of it, was pretty enjoyable. The game feels good, for 3-3.5 hours. After that, with scores broken, it loses momentum and gets grindy and repetitive.
If you're looking for a shoot-em-up to play for a few hours, this will be fun. If you're looking for a game to last you, or just a very good game... pass this one up. It's full of flaws and bad implementation, despite being a fun and well thought game in its core.
I have to say, it feels satisfying whenever you score in the millions, but you also realize that it was more luck than skill. It is a fun game, sometimes, but I can't think of it as a good game.
It seems to follow Boss Baddie's games' trend. Really neat concept, nice art direction (although too many annyoing effects), but then those games try to be bigger than they are with too many badly implemented mechanics.
Please, keep it simpler. And polish them a bit more after release.
I understand that other projects and games are more important than old ones, but several things are simply broken, and there are people paying for it.