Sky Ride is easily one of the more peculiar games I’ve had the task of reviewing. There’s seriously not many other games where I’ve played for 20 minutes and still not understood even a moment of what was going on. I was perplexed and bewildered at this Japanese oddity that plopped onto the eShop a week or two ago. Having played a few hours now, I’m honestly not much wiser than when I first began and so this is easily the most uncomfortable I’ve been in reviewing a game for the channel, even compared to fighters and shooters of which I’m a pure scrub and have no authority on. This however… I just don’t know if I’m completely missing something, or it genuinely is just a perplexing eccentricity.
After an initial, and admittedly very cool looking load screen, you are instantly in the saddle of a hover bike akin to those that tried murdering the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi. You can move around, press all the commands, explore the little arena that is the entire game world and then when you feel like doing something actually a bit mental, you can press start to kick off the game.
It’s just odd. No start menu or anything, no tutorial, just “there you are, get on with it”. When receiving my review copy I was told that Sky Ride was a simple game. They obviously underestimated my idiocy. Or maybe it’s just a weird game. Probably a bit of both actually.
So what is the game? Well I don’t know. As you’ve guessed it’s a bit lost on me, but here’s stuff I’ve noticed. It’s an arcade score attack game where you float around on your bike taking down wave after wave of enemies that kind of look like robotic Chinese lanterns that are haunted. Like, thousands of them.
You have a multitude of weapons available, all of which have questionable effectiveness; a Gatling gun, laser beam, rockets, among others. They have unlimited ammo, but they do need to recharge over time so can’t be spammed. Button mapping seems to have been programmed by someone’s cat walking over the keyboard. Everything’s all over the place with no rhyme or reason and as just about every button is used in some way, it’s all a bit of a confusing mess. While it adds to the strangeness of the game, it does actually impede the gameplay unfortunately. Thankfully they can be remapped in the options menu!
As the swarms of enemies come flying at you, you need to do your best to avoid them while also shooting them which isn’t quite so easy as most of your weapons only shoot forwards, so Sky Ride can be a fairly difficult game, indeed I struggled to last more than a few minutes. You can regain health by picking up bits that destroyed enemies leave behind, which is actually quite fair.
Every few rounds a larger enemy will make an appearance, making a boss battle of sorts with its own health bar and everything. These enemies pack quite a punch so it’s best to keep a distance from them while dealing damage yourself.
When you do finally die (and you will because robotic, haunted Chinese lanterns just keep getting bigger and faster) you’ll be given a grade as well as have your score lumped on the leaderboard.
And thats all I pretty much noticed when it comes to playing Sky Ride!
One actual genuine good thing about Sky Ride is the soundtrack, or more aptly, its song. It’s pretty rocking! Good job sound guy!
Overall, Sky Rider is a strange one for sure. It looks awful, kind of plays awful too, but its quirkiness sort of wins me over. Do I recommend it? Not in a billion years. But I like it! I enjoyed being able to scratch my head at it. Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe I just don’t understand its genius. Feel free to comment below to tell me how dense I am for missing it because I’d love to know!
Game provided by Mutan.