21st Jun2021

‘Skyland Rush: Air Raid Attack’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Phil Wheat

A shooting rush game against creatures of the dark! Shoot and fly through the sky of Skylandia in an epic adventure. How far can you get? Dash into the world and challenge your skills in this side-scrolling game! Evil has taken over Skylandia! Zenya needs your help! Survive the sneaky attacks of various bugsters, ominous witches, robobirds, little devils and other notorious monsters that will threaten your mission! Shoot’em up to clear your way and claim the rewards. A long journey lies ahead, dark times shall not prevail! Tap and balance though dense vegetation, blocking rocks and dangerous caves! Collect powerful charms to wipe out all the enemy creatures with your super weapons. Avoid or smash the obstacles and spot the hidden traps ahead so that you can disable them in time. During your epic adventures, different types of egglings will come across your path! Each one of them is an ill-omen of an evil presence! Collect them all while monstrous Titans await to be awakened! Join Zenya’s journey to the adventurous Skylandia!

Skyland Rush: Air Raid Attack is the latest shoot ’em-up to appear on the Nintendo Switch, however unlike a lot of the shooters on the console that take their inspiration from the Japanese bullet-hell shmups, this game is seemingly inspired by both the Rayman franchise and the addictive mobile game Jetpack Joyride… Which is not a bad thing!

I say that as the gameplay feels, for the most part, much like the coin collecting fun of Jetpack Joyride – complete with tricky areas where, in order to collect enough coins to complete one of the many tasks you have to do each level, you must perform ridiculous moves of precise skill and timing to miss both the surroundings and the myriad of enemies in your way. Speaking of enemies, its here where the Rayman inspiration is clearly at play. The numerous “bugs” look like they’ve stepped right out of Rayman – and they die like it too, swelling up with each bullet hit before exploding! Hell there’s even little bugs you must rescue from cages, usually 6 per level, a la Rayman too… The inspiration is almost TOO blatant!

But neither fact is a detriment to this game, in fact by combining elements of two beloved games series together into a new entity is actually a stroke of genius and we end up with a cutesy shmup that taps into the old-school Fantasy Zone/Twinbee vibe. Only Skyland Rush: Air Raid Attack then goes and turns all bullet-hell shooter for the boss battles! Yes, as if trying to get through levels unscathed, collecting the requisite coins, freeing the required number of bugs, and killing the required numbers of enemies wasn’t bad enough, then you get a big boss battle that, at least in my experience, insists that you save up ANY of the missiles you’ve collected (which come in handy in more frantic parts of the game) just to get through the end of level fight!

To be fair though, that final big boss fight is actually rather satisfying, especially when some of the levels are a little TOO easy (unless you’re aiming to complete all the side quests). However it’s not all good… Skyland Rush: Air Raid Attack is incredibly stingy when it comes to upgrades. The sheer amount of coins you need to collect to start buying upgrades is, frankly, ridiculous. Especially when you realise your progress can be hampered by not upgrading – for yes, I’d say there’s no way you can complete this game without upgrades, such is the difficulty level of the game – even on easy!

Skyland Rush: Air Raid Attack is available on the Nintendo eShop now from Zerouno Games.

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