Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders Review: Don’t Miss This Amazing WWII Installment
At this point, I’d say it’s pretty clear—the Sky Gamblers franchise is a huge home run, one that never descends from the clouds… We were thrilled with Air Supremacy, and so when Storm Raiders launched, we couldn’t get our hands on it quick enough. You don’t need to have a WWII-enthusiast bone in your body to enjoy what Atypical Games is offering in this one. The brilliant visuals, deft control schemes, and marvelous sound tracks are all back in action—and this time it all unfolds in stunningly-rendered WWII environments like Pearl Harbor, Midway, and more.
We’ve been over all of this before, but it bears repeating: You might think that flight sims are a genre better left to consoles and PCs, but making that assumption would be a big mistake. Ever since they hit us with the first installment, Atypical Games has been refining the formula that makes Sky Gamblers such a blast, and all of their progress has come to bear in Storm Raiders. Right from the get-go you can expect a slick user interface as you go about selecting whether you’ll jump right into the campaign (warning, experienced players only…), try some multiplayer, or do your due diligence and head for the tutorials… I’d recommend the latter, as it’s here that you’ll get a refresher about your options for control schemes, and no matter how great a gamer you are, it’s going to take a second to get attuned to the minute movements that will make you a superior pilot.
While Storm Raiders offers several control schemes, all of which are viable options, I’d advise practicing till you can take FULL control of the aircraft with as little assistance as possible. This will give you the freedom you crave—and really need—once you’re thrust into a battle as intense and chaotic as Pear Harbor. Should you accept full control of the plane, a joystick on the lower left of the screen will control acceleration, deceleration, and yaw, while you’ll use the device’s accelerometer to control turning and pitch. There are also buttons for putting the aircraft into overdrive, and of course buttons for machine guns, missiles, torpedos, etc… Getting all these elements to work together takes some serious coordination, but it’s entirely worth it once you experience the joy of a perfectly-executed takedown (or “frag,” as they’re called in the game).
With so much being required of you to keep your plane cruising on the tail of the enemy, there’s a good chance you won’t fully appreciate the visuals right away. But take a moment to do a free flight and you’ll quickly realize that Atypical Games is keeping the Sky Gamblers franchise on par with the very best of what the App Store has to showcase. The lush environments are portrayed in crisp detail, and subtle touches like the ripple of the air or the trace streaks of machine gun fire heighten the experience beyond anything we’ve seen lately. The quality of the visuals is especially apparent if you’ve got the option of mirroring your device’s display through AirPlay and projecting Sky Gamblers onto a big screen display (talk about an ideal application for that technology…).
The only times you might “come down” from the high this game affords would have to be those moments where the laws of physics break. This can happen when you get close to the ground or other objects. We’re talking pretty basic glitches that don’t last more than a moment, and there’s always the chance that Atypical could address them in future updates.
We could have saved a lot of time by just letting you know that Sky Gamblers has more-than retained the five-star rating we gave Air Supremacy, but where’s the fun in that… The advancements are all in the details here, whether it’s the huge fleet of WWII aircraft, the weapon selections, or even the historical accuracy of the missions, Storm Raiders delivers above and beyond what’s come before, and that’s saying something… $4.99 might seem like a lot to pay for a genre that gets little representation in the App Store, but Atypical Games has been doing this for awhile, and it’s time more people know about it. Get it now and start training—those dogfights aren’t going to win themselves.
Our Score: 5 Out of 5