Sky Gamblers: Cold War Review: Popular Franchise Serves Up More of the Same
Sky Gamblers has been high on the radar of iOS gamers since it was featured in the new iPad release event last year. Air Supremacy was well loved; and it’s sequel Storm Raiders was equally well received. Now, the franchise takes wing beyond World War II with Sky Gamblers: Cold War. The time period is new, but little else feels new in this sequel.
The gimmick of Cold War is that you play in various times throughout the conflict, from the 1950s through the 1990s. As you progress in the game you take control of better, more technologically advanced planes. [And oh yes, you'll have your Top Gun moment in the 1980s.] It’s good to see all these new aircraft in the game, and they’re all well rendered. It’s fun to see the advancement in controls, HUD displays, etc. as you make your way through the campaign.
In all the plane iterations, the control scheme that you liked so much in past Sky Gamblers games is here. It’s just as easy to use, overall, though it also has the same moments of awkwardness and unresponsiveness — an unfortunate consequence of trying to control plane flight in three dimensions with an accelerometer.
The campaign itself was a mixed bag for me. The tutorials are downright annoying; they play out at some predetermined pace instead of letting you click through dialogue and tasks at your own pace. The missions themselves can sometimes be long in the tooth (like the helicoptor gun mission; seriously, I needed an IAP “buy past” option there).
There’s also a “plot”, though I never really followed it. It’s irrelevant to play. Unfortunately, you can’t skip past cut scenes (and there are more than a few). You can fast forward, but that’s not the same thing as skipping. Why can’t we skip?
Where Cold War shines is, like its predecessors, in the dogfight play and online play. The Sky Gamblers franchise has nailed the online multiplayer dogfight, and there’s nothing changed here. It’s just as fun as it was before. And this time, there’s a lot of planes to chase — all those different eras!
But that’s also the problem: there’s nothing much changed here. While many fans will be okay with “more of the same” from their favorite flight franchise, others — myself included — were perfectly happy with the last two Sky Gamblers games, which aren’t that old and still look and play great. The Cold War gimmick is fun, but I wish they’d found some other way to distinguish the game.
If you were a fan of the previous Sky Gamblers games and you’re interested in playing with other planes from other decades, this game is probably already something you want to buy. If you’re new to the franchise, however, you might want to go back and check out Air Supremacy or Storm Raiders first.
Our Score: 4 out of 5.
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