Review: Sky Cannoneer – A Worthy Successor to a Classic Game

Review: Sky Cannoneer

Sky Cannoneer is a unique game by Element Games which is essentially a spiritual successor to the classic game Rampart. Rampart was released back in 1990 by Atari Games and was since forgotten in the archives of history. Element Games brings back the classic gameplay first introduced by Rampart, adds modern mechanics to the title and the result is the brilliant game Sky Cannoneer. If you’ve not played the original Rampart like me then this is your chance to play one of the best games released for arcades back in the 90s. This is our review of Sky Cannoneer on Steam.

In Sky Cannoneer, you must take control of your own Battle Haven and become the ultimate Corsair in the skies. As you try to unearth the secret behind the cause of a plague on your planet Emoria, you will come face to face with other corsairs who were once loyal to your cause and fight other monsters and enemies including fully grown dragons and giant airships that have the power to wipe your existence. The game follows a narrative-driven story in its single-player campaign however its gameplay is what really makes it unique in today’s concentrated market.

Review: Sky Cannoneer

Just like the original Rampart, Sky Cannoneer’s gameplay comprises of three sequences. Each sequence is limited by time. You only get a few seconds for each sequence. The first sequence comprises of building. During this phase, you get random brick walls that look like bricks from Tetris. You must use the few seconds to form an enclosure around your Forts to power them up. You need to have closed enclosures around your forts to ensure that they are powered up. If they are not in a closed enclosure, they will not power up the cannons surrounding them.

After this sequence, the next short sequence involves you placing down cannons around your forts. You can only put down cannons near forts that are powered up and complete. After placing your cannons, you will enter the third sequence which is the shooting one. During this phase, you and your enemy will shoot from your cannons at each other and try to destroy their walls and their generator. Destroying their walls will ensure that they are unable to shoot from their cannons if they are unable to build the walls back. To win the game, you must destroy the enemy’s generator and if the enemy destroys your generator first, you will lose the game.

The gameplay continues until you win the game or lose the game. Sky Cannoneer features some really epic boss fights as well. As you move to different levels, each level has further missions where the final level is a boss fight. These boss fights range from mighty sky fortresses to huge airships to ferocious dragons. During the boss fights, your main goal and gameplay will remain pretty much the same with your target shifting to the weak point of the boss. The boss fights are not too difficult which makes them quite fun to tackle.

You start off the game with the basic forts but quite quickly you are offered Fort Upgrades which allow you to upgrade your forts into a better one. You can have forts that come with an additional cannon for bombardment or have forts that shoot down incoming enemy projectiles. You can even upgrade to Reloader Forts which greatly enhances the reloading of your cannons so that you can bombard your enemies quickly and without any remorse. Upgrading your forts is a onetime thing and then you can switch them out easily. For example, if you have a Reloader Fort, you can change it to a Bombard Fort or a Sentinel Fort with a click of a button thus allowing you to change your strategy before a battle begins.

Review: Sky Cannoneer

Apart from the fort upgrades, you also have access to a Technology Tree which will allow you to have a different upgrade equipped from different tiers. You have five different tiers and each tier is locked behind a level requirement. Once you hit that particular level, you will unlock three special abilities specific to that tier. You can only have one of these abilities active at all times. So that means five tiers with one chosen from each tier, you can have a total of five ultimate abilities equipped at all times when you can have access to all five tiers.

These technology tree upgrades include special powers like having Cluster Bombs which make your cannonballs explode into multiple projectiles in flight or having long walls defending your base or equipping self-repair walls. These Technology Tree upgrades are crucial to your victory and you will not be able to win later battles without these upgrades. As you progress in the main story, you will really start noticing the difference in your gameplay because of these updates. Upgrading your Forts and using the upgrades from the Technology Tree will ensure that you remain on top of your game.

Review: Sky Cannoneer

You might feel that the game might get tough when you reach the later stages but in fact, you are unlocking more upgrades and getting better at the game at the same time as well. I thought the same way but after playing the first initial rounds, I greatly had command on how the game works and pretty soon I was blasting my way through enemies in no time. Even bosses are really easy to beat once you get the hold of your game. It all boils down to your own management of how you build around your forts and how well you are prepared against the enemy’s bombardment.

Sky Cannoneer is an excellent game that came out of nowhere. I never played the original title on which this game is based on but I really like Sky Cannoneer and I will surely play this game a lot in the future. In the preview build that I received, there was no multiplayer. If the game stays offline, I am afraid it will be forgotten after some time. There is not much to do in the game after you are done with all levels in the game. If the developers plan to add multiplayer in the game post-launch, I am sure that players will love battling with other players from around the world and taking down their friends in online battles.

Final Verdict:

Sky Cannoneer offers a really good gameplay experience as you try to defend your base and keep it powered up to ensure that you can fight back enemies including massive Sky Fortresses and dragons. The gameplay is tense as every game segment has a time limit and you must work your way around quickly to build walls and place down cannons. It might not look like a strategy game but if you don’t manage all gameplay sequences with a strategy, you will not be able to expand, deploy, protect and keep your base powered up for the next round. However, I think that for a game of this much potential must-have multiplayer to ensure that the community remains active for a long time. If multiplayer ever arrives in the game, it will have an extremely long life because, in its current form, you do not have much to do once you are done with the main campaign. There is not even a local co-op option in the game. Nonetheless, it is still a great game that deserves your attention.

Final Score: 8/10

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About the Author: Umair Khalid

Founder of GamesHedge, Umair enjoys a wide variety of video games ranging from RPGs to racing games. Currently busy with The Crew Motorfest and Way of the Hunter.

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