High above civilisation lies Aerth, a land of floating cities and islands amongst the clouds. Once a sprawling landscape of beautiful islands has now been reduced to desolate land thanks to enemy airships invading, and it’s now up to you to save the last remaining islands from destruction.
Sky Fleet is a top-down action RTS and tower-defence game with all the mechanics you would expect to find in classic RTS games as well as some new refreshing features to the genre. The idea of Sky Fleet is simple: enemies nicknamed Binocs are invading and draining the islands of minerals and you and your fleet of armed ships need to stop them. Depending on the objective of the level, you may simply need to survive long enough for the win, or you may need to actively seek out Binoc bases and destroy them all.
Sky Fleet has both a campaign as well as an online PVP mode to choose from. Both modes are fundamentally the same mechanically, with the only major difference being the ability to play with friends in one. The campaign itself has eight levels to work through ranging in objectives. Each level progressively increases in difficulty as expected, and the objectives can range from simple survival for a set amount of time to capturing several enemy bases within a time limit. There is enough of a challenge within these objectives, however, the campaign does severely lack a story and plot. Any plot points regarding the lore of the islands are learned from help menus and the tutorial which is unfortunate. Without the involvement of any major storyline throughout the levels, they do tend to blend together as one large level afterwards which is unfortunate as the potential is there.
Another detail I came across which I found strange was the fact that you can’t play solely offline. Oddly enough, the campaign requires you to be always connected to the internet which then brings forth a multitude of issues. The ship you are piloting tends to be quite clunky in movements and will often fly much further than you intended, and this becomes even more noticeable with the lag that the servers produce. In-game progress also isn’t saved periodically like most campaigns, so having your base ambushed when you’re close to level completion and having to start a 20+ minute level over again will become more than frustrating if you don’t strategically plan your base.
Despite this, the mechanics are rather simple and very easy to understand after a few minutes of flying. Even if you’re not the best at coming up with full defence strategies, it’s easy to gain enough coins and material to overload your base with turrets, shields and generators to allow you to focus on flying out to enemy bases instead of worrying about your base. As for customisation of your defences, it really is completely up to you how you place your builds, and options are plentiful. The only downside to the customisation would be not being able to stack your weaponry and skills for your ship to create upgraded defences and instead you’re stuck with the base options. Whichever way you do decide to play, whether a full defence, full damage route or a mix of both, they all bring a fun challenge regardless.
The art style and visuals are definitely some of Sky Fleet’s stronger points. The menu interfaces are clean and clear, and you have all the information you require on your screen at all times regarding your stats, enemy locations and island health. The islands themselves each have their own unique details to distinguish them from mineral islands to enemy bases, so it’s always easy to tell at a glance what islands you need to keep an eye on. The addition of Sky Fleet being a top-down game is being able to make out the smaller details of houses and civilisation on the ground, which adds a tonne of depth and detail to the gameplay as you fly around. The designs of enemy fleets are also easily distinguishable from your own builds, so you probably won’t be mistaking your turrets for enemy ships.
Aside from the single-player campaign needing some development plot-wise to distinguish it from the online mode, Sky Fleet is an enjoyable, engaging and challenging action RTS game. With co-op being one of the main focuses of Sky Fleet, the addition of friends would absolutely improve any experience with this game and solve a lot of the issues regarding plot and storylines. With lots of room to grow in the future, Sky Fleet is one to watch if you’re a fan of co-op tower defence titles.