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Rangok Skies Preview

Rangok Skies preview: A retro vertical shooter currently available as a playable demo, and out on Steam in December.

Rangok Skies Preview
Source: Screen capture

The following Rangok Skies preview is based on the demo build currently available on Steam; a classic vertical shoot ’em up influenced by the likes of DoDonPachiGunbird, and Strikers 1945.

While adding a few new titles to my Steam library, there were several playable demos available of titles on the storefront, covered here in recent weeks.

Only last week, we noted Rangok Skies a retro top-down shooter. This was the first that was downloaded, notably because it was a small file size as well.

Rangok Skies Preview – Steam

Set for the 5th of December 2020, the demo is currently available on Steam, so head on over after reading through, if you could.

From Samurai Games and published by DigeratiRangok Skies is a no-nonsense shoot ’em up in the style of its influences as well as a few other more modern titles that take their inspiration from old school arcade titles.

Emphasis on old school as the visuals are more reminiscent of games from the late 80s/early 90s rather than the new breed of 3D rendered vistas and whatever bling can be introduced into the gaming environment.

Rangok Skies - Astra
Astra. Source: Screen capture

At a glance, Rangok Skies resembled more of a mobile aesthetic than arcade, and it felt a little light in the presentation department. But about halfway through, that was all forgotten as the gameplay was pretty good.

Nobody plays this sort of game for the story, but there is a loose one here, serving in the background: the Great Vampire War. After four nations joined in beating the evil Lord Rangok, they split their weapon, the Vampire Spear, paying tribute to the great battle and their alliance.

In the present day, chaos ensues when a mysterious message is received by all nations, informing them to “Bring the Vampire Spear, and you will be given rewards beyond your wildest dreams.”

Now, that wouldn’t have been known from this demo as it’s one playable level that doesn’t touch on the story – the above was lifted from the Steam page. However, it’s nice to know there’s reasoning behind the growing tension between the heroes.

There are four characters to choose from, the fourth, a samurai being locked from the start. Choose from Marco, Astra and Big Joe… when given a choice, the other two might as well not exist; let’s go for Duke Nukem look-a-like, Big Joe.

Rangok Skies Preview - Boss
Ze boss. Source: Screen capture

A, S, D, and F

It was quite disappointing that the demo didn’t have controller support for a console gamer such as myself. Instead, the controls were the arrow keys, X, C and space.

The gameplay is swift, and once you get accustomed with using the keys, it’s relatively smooth, but hopefully, the full release will get controller support. There’s nothing wrong with the game, more to do with preference.

As for the enemies, stage and effects, Rangok Skies was pretty clinical in its approach, but nothing stood out. 

Power-ups were constant and over-the-top as expected, but there wasn’t anything that resonated. It was more like a game such as Ghost Blade HD – perfectly serviceable, but nothing that will have you quit your job and dedicate your life to learning the ways of this life-changing title. There aren’t that many unless you count something like Lonely Mountains Downhill.

But my opinion changed with the introduction of the boss. It was well animated, over the top and very briefly took me out of myself in that I was absorbed in the bullet hell, vibrant colours and wicked character design.

Rangok Skies - Colourful
Very colourful. Source: Screen capture

Alas, defeating this bad boy meant game over, but I immediately started again with the other characters. Aside from the special moves with the likes of C and the spacebar, they handled pretty much the same, but the second and third playthroughs got better each time.

Rangok Skies is fast-moving without being silly, a bullet hell title that doesn’t overwhelm, but at the same time, it was pretty challenging, and on that basis, if analysing further, it could be argued that it ticks a lot of boxes.

By the time it gets a full release, it would be great to see controller support, but it’s not a deciding factor. Sure, the first impressions of the enemy units and artwork weren’t mind-blowing, but it will be interesting to see where Samurai Games will be taking it in December.

Download the Rangok Skies demo on Steam now and add to your wishlist. Please.

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