As virtual reality is still in its early years finding a game in a particular genre you enjoy can sometimes be challenging. Wave shooters, platformers, puzzle games and more all have quite a lot of options but if you’re someone that is into strategy games there aren’t a ton of games to pick from currently. Skyworld is the newest strategy game released on PlayStation VR and it’s brought to us by the teams over at Vertigo Games (makers of Arizona Sunshine) and Wolfdog Interactive. Skyworld is a rather deep game with a lot of layers to dig into but if you take the time the learn its systems the reward is worth it.
Skyworld is a turn-based strategy game that blends in real-time battles as well. It features a deep resource management system as well as an upgrade system. You can play the game using either a Dualshock 4 or two PlayStation Move controllers which is what I preferred to use as it seemed better fit for this genre of game. The game is set in a fantasy world where the inhabitants live on islands in the sky which isn’t too big of a surprise given the title of the game. Your job is to defend these floating isles from evil demons and dragons that would destroy them. Skyworld offers both a meaty single player and multiplayer options but I dove into the single player first.
The game presents you with a short tutorial that explains how to navigate the world and how to build certain things. It also explains the menu system in the game where you’ll be using both a main and sub menus. These can be opened up and placed where you want on the screen to give you easy access to them. Navigating them is a bit cumbersome but it gets a bit easier as you play. For a tutorial though the game comes across as being very intimidating and I could see some players struggling to learn everything the game throws at you here. It took me awhile to get a handle on all of the systems but once I did everything started to really click.
There are 8 missions in the game and your goal in each one is to take out the enemy base on the other side of each map. Each map is divided up into three lanes that you’ll send your troops down. Since the game is set on islands in the sky you can actually reach out and spin the islands to get a better view of things. Battles play out in turns with you having the option to move your units, build new structures, perform upgrades, and collect resources such as food, iron, stone, and magic crystals. There is no limit to how many actions you can perform on your turn so feel free to do everything you need to before you pass it over to your opponent. Pointing at things on the map will present you with information about them whether it be your troops or various buildings. You also have a general that you’ll move around the map in order to capture certain points and engage the enemy forces with. When you run into those enemies you start a skirmish where you’ll use the card system in the game.
You have a deck of cards that determines what units you can use in each battle. Some units are melee fighters while others are better at ranged attacks. There are also magic spells you can cast such as ice and fire that are quite powerful. Resources are used to research new cards and upgrade ones you have. Each card can be upgraded up to three times to improve things such as attack strength and total health. You’ll need to be doing this as well in order to get past some of the later missions in the game.
Now when the battle starts you’ll have a mana pool that builds up that determines which cards you can play. You’ll be holding four cards in your left hand and pick and use them with your right hand. Each card has a certain mana cost associated with it in order to play it. Sending your various troops out is how you will take down the enemy base and win the battle. There are also three key control points on each map that you’ll want to capture because they offer more offensive firepower. Making sure to target and capture these early can mean the difference between winning and losing a fight. Also knowing how to manage your food and taxes properly is also key as having more workers will lead to you having more resources. Get careless with them and you’ll run into shortages and find yourself in some pretty dire situations.
I spent over nine hours alone in the single player so while Skyworld is $30 it seems to justify that price in content. That is because besides the single player you can also dive into skirmish matches against the AI, daily challenges that reward you with XP, and online matches against other players. I want to just mention that while being able to place menus where you want and move the table around to get better views is great use of the VR technology Skyworld has other great uses of it too. For instance in a normal strategy game you will just click a button to destroy a building you no longer want but in this game you actually take a hammer and beat that building down to destroy it. The game has other cool interactive elements like that too and it just shows how VR can add much more to a traditional experience.
Running on a PS4 Pro, the graphics in the game were quite impressive. The world is very cartoonish but beautiful at the same time. It’s full of detail from the buildings to the units on the map. The game also features different seasons which help give the game more visual variety. It also has this cool thing where if you move to different locations like the castle or the research lab the whole table flips to switch to that area which is really cool every time you do it. All of the sound effects in the game deliver as you would expect as well so no complaints in the audio department. There are 27 trophies in the game to unlock with most of them being pretty straightforward. Complete all the missions, build so many structures, win so many AI skirmishes and collect so many resources. The hardest ones will likely be winning a battle with maximum HP penalty and taking down the enemy castle with only four cards.
Skyworld is well worth picking up on PlayStation VR for any fans of strategy games. The controls are easy for anyone to pick up and play and there is a lot of systems to dig into here. Some may be intimidated and find it to be a bit too much but for those who stick with it I’m confident you’ll enjoy what’s there. With a lengthy single-player as well as AI skirmishes and the option to take the fight online, Skyworld offers plenty of bang for your buck.
*Skyworld is out now on PlayStation VR. Reviewed on a PS4 Pro. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review. See this review and all of our VR reviews on vrgamecritic.com
- Lots of Content with both a Meaty Single Player and Multiplayer Options
- Uses VR to Great Effect to Enhance the Strategy Elements
- Has a ton of depth that rewards you for learning all of its systems
- Controls are easy to pick up on
- Menus can be a bit cumbersome making it hard to quickly do what you are trying to do
- The amount of information the game throws at you can be a bit intimidating