Sky Racket is a brilliant and colourful mix of a shoot ’em up and a block breaker

combines two styles of gameplay in such a fantastic way, with beautiful bright colours and feel like a classic Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) game. It’s out today and it’s a huge amount of fun. Note: Key provided by the developer.

They’re calling it a Shmup Breaker, since it combines the side-scrolling action found in tons of classic shoot ’em ups with block breaking not too far from Breakout. It’s so incredibly weird to see the two different styles put together like this, but it really does work. The colourful and cheery presentation is incredibly inviting too, couldn’t help but smile at the cheesy retro-cartoon intro video.

One of the key features of Sky Racket is how you don’t have a weapon, only a tool. You have a magical laser Racket, which is basically a Tennis Racket that appears out of a handle a bit like a Lightsaber. Enemies shoot at you, so you serve it back to them with increased speed and power. You get to meet some little friends along the way, like a flying elephant head that can shoot every so often (which seemed optional, it gave me the choice of having them join me).

What’s really caught me with Sky Racket is how damn satisfying it is to get a good rebound on enemy fire, to have it bounce furiously around the screen smashing blocks everywhere as it goes. It looks glorious! Sky Racket also adds in a little sprinkle of Bullet Hell too, especially with the boss battles. The first one, for example, has you face off against a giant angry Banana:

This is a fantastic example of how to do a retro-inspired game in modern times. up the features, add a bunch of surprises with some on-point humour which hits that line just before weird becomes insane. The kind of strange where long, flying cat sandwiches open up to reveal a little turret inside.

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Just look at this, at one point a bunch of furry little critters jumped on me and I had to wiggle them off. That’s after a section where I was constantly dodging a barrage of critters falling from the sky, all wanting to hop on. I don’t have even the slightest clue what’s going on but it’s stupidly charming.

I will add, those same furry critters actually turn into grenades when you shake them off, for you to serve up a good shot right through a group of enemies in front of you. The earlier section where they’re constantly dropping from the sky now makes a bit more sense. Luckily I got to re-try it after my utter failure at the hands of an extremely angry two-sided monkey thing, who fires big laser things out of their mouth which drops down spikes from above.

Look, nothing I say about this game is going to begin making sense, you just have to play it.

Feature Highlight:

  • Dodge and dive through fanciful shmup levels! Blast bullets back to break blocks and bust bad guys!
  • Gorgeous pixel art and fluid animation so good it’s BANANAS, literally and figuratively.
  • Co-op multiplayer to share this funky fun with friends!
  • Befriend the best little buddies to aid you in a colorful and whimsical universe!
  • Catchy original soundtrack sure to please 16-bit fans!
  • Bizarre boss battles! No really, they’re very strange…
  • Bullet hell challenges to thrill and test your will!
  • Master the mechanics of rebounding attacks and find creative ways to use your enemies’ weapons against them!

Since writing about the demo back in July, gamepad support on Linux seems to have improved with the button prompts properly showing up on the Steam Controller so it’s been quite a smooth experience.

You can find Sky Racket on Humble Store and Steam. Absolute recommendation, pure joy.

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