Yes, pedants, this game was released well over a month ago. But despite some very positive reviews, Rogue Sky has made nary a dent on the App Store charts. Let's revisit this charming slice of whimsy and see if we can give it a little boost, shall we? Consider it a public service for indie games development.
How does it play?
You're a sentient hot-air balloon, floating through the atmosphere, navigating a path through the clouds. Controls are by pressing two buttons onscreen to float upwards, and pressing left or right to, you guessed it, float left or right. Press nothing on the screen, and the balloon gently floats downwards.
Other controls include the option to fire projectiles. This will come in handy, because there's an ill wind blowing in your direction. If it ain't thunder clouds trying to give you a shock and send you crashing down to earth, it's floating mines and enemy balloons lobbing bad vibes in your general direction.
Gameplay is objective based, whether it's collecting items, or despatching certain targets, or racing against the clock. This brings a bit of variety to the proceedings, as does the option to swap out the standard ballon for other models with specialised attributes like firepower or speed.
Why do we like it?
Rogue Sky looks absolutely gorgeous. The clouds, yes, the clouds, are rendered like delicate fluffy candy floss, and more than once we found ourselves licking the iPad screen. The character designs are brilliant, and it occurs to us that a grinning orange pumpkin is most definitely the perfect livery for a hot-air balloon.
But more than visual appeal, the game mechanics are solid, delicately poised between tough bastard arcade action and genuine fun. Dogfighting against enemy balloons isn't just about button mashing, for example. it's about taking cover behind clouds, or waiting for the precise moment when you can unleash your volley, based on variables like height, trajectory, and gravity. Like we said, fun.
Timed to coincide with recent Halloween excesses, the iPhone version is temporarily available to download for free. The iPad version is £1.49, and worth a punt.