Rovio Stars has a pretty solid track record. Having already launched games like Tiny Thief, Icebreaker, and Plunder Pirates, the publishing program from Angry Birds creator Rovio Entertainment is designed to a help up-and-coming mobile game developers succeed. With top-tier marketing and post-production services, Rovio Stars strives to ensure that each game released under their banner is on track to be a hit.
And Sky Punks is going to be a hit.
Sky Punks is an endless runner (an, “unlimited adventure” is the official description) where the player races, dodges, jumps, soars, and slides their way through the spirited world of Neo Terra.
Neo Terra, by the way, is gorgeous looking. Sky Punks may be another endless runner, but the game’s visuals are enough to warrant a try all on their own. From heart racing moments caught in a giant stampede to dodging rock worms bursting out of cave floors, every segment in Sky Punks feels pulled right out of a Saturday morning cartoon. (A cartoon that I would totally watch, by the way).
From a gameplay perspective, there isn’t anything inherently different in Sky Punks that would drastically set it apart from other endless runners out there. The control scheme is exactly the same as every endless runner that I’ve ever played: tap to jump, slash down to slide, and swipe side-to-side to change lanes. Players earn currency to unlock new racers and vehicles, and use the leftover currency to upgrade the characters and vehicles in various ways. It’s a very meat and potatoes experience, but as far as endless runners go, it’s the best looking plate of meat and potatoes that you can find.
One aspect of Sky Punks that I did enjoy (and don’t see too often these days) is that in Sky Punks is a truly endless runner. The level continues to play out after you beat it. With many runners nowadays (take Looney Tunes Dash! for example), the gameplay is broken into levels that have clearly defined end zones. Once you reach those end zones, the level ends. With Sky Punks, when you complete the level’s objectives you get to keep on zooming along until you slip up and crash into something.
While I don’t pride myself on being one of the best at endless runners, I do like to think I’m above average in mastering the four basic controls of the genre. So when I would gesture to slide and Sky Punks would interpret that as a lane change, I understandably got annoyed. Unfortunately, this happened quite a bit. At first I thought it was because I was slouched back in my couch, playing the game at an awkward angle. So I sat up and the problem persisted. I even tried to play the game standing up, holding the screen perfectly straight, and I was still getting frustrated by the game’s misinterpretation of my gestures.
When you have a game as cute as Sky Punks, it’s hard to get mad at the game, but when the occurrence is frequent enough to warrant recurring notice, even the visuals can’t save the game from that sort of tarnish. Is it a game-breaking bug? Absolutely not. Is it a problem that could (and probably will) be addressed in an upcoming patch? More than likely.
Sky Punks is a great little endless runner game from Rovio Stars that is a joy to look at, gives players plenty to collect, and while it does have some wonky moments from time to time, it’s not enough to take away too much from the overall experience. If you’re a fan of endless runners, you’re going to want to pick this one up.