Double Dash’s Sky Racket is an unlikely mashup of the brick-breaker and shoot’em up genres. Players assume the role of either RacketBoy or RacketGirl, on a journey to save the galaxy from a great evil. Through the power of tennis, these heroes will traverse a colorful set of worlds on a grand journey.
What instantly struck me with Sky Racket is the game’s art direction and design. The pixelated character and enemy models make Sky Racket feel right in place among classic brick-breakers and shoot’em ups, while the vibrant colors bring everything to life. The story is broken up into five worlds, each of which having its own unique enemies, themes, and characteristics. Double Dash’s attention to detail really makes each planet feel unique.
The gameplay is where Sky Racket shines the brightest. Genre mashups can be fun, and can often create for new opportunities to spice up formulas. Sky Racket takes two of the medium’s oldest and simplistic genres and breathes new life into them.
The power of Venus
During a level, enemies will fly towards the player as the screen continuously scrolls. These foes will shoot a number of lasers and projectiles at the player. You must use your racket in order to deflect the bullets back to destroy enemies and brick-like structures. I had never played something like Sky Racket before, but instantly felt comfortable and familiar with its simple and well-defined controls system. By the end of the second level, I was rolling up and down, bouncing around the screen striking bullets and preventing the opposition from getting past me.
Double Dash manages to marry these two genres together so seamlessly that I wondered how there weren’t already countless other games like this. The back and forth, side to side pace of a brick-breaker is still there, with all of the on-screen chaos and action that you’d expect from a shoot’em up. Boss battles offer a challenge while still feeling fair and consistent with standard levels.
Shooting for the stars
Sky Racket had previously seen a release on PC and major console platforms, and has now made its way onto the Nintendo Switch. As an easy to pick up and play game, Sky Racket is a great fit on Switch. I particularly liked how the developers used the HD rumble feature to respond to the racket swatting bullets and enemies.
As for alternative ways to play, Sky Racket allows a second player to join in for some local co-op action. Having a player two really ups the chaos and excitement, but honestly gets a bit too messy for my liking and creates unnecessary difficulty with the level of chaos on-screen.
Sky Racket’s biggest downfall is the general sense of lacking in content. The story itself is definitely on the shorter side, though this isn’t a huge offense as there’s a solid level of replayability. Outside of that, there just isn’t much to be seen. Sky Racket could have greatly benefited from more ways to play. Something like an endless mode, or a more robust arcade mode may have done the trick.
Sky Racket is an excitingly fun love letter to retro gaming. Double Dash manages to marry two genres in such a way that makes it feel like they should’ve been together all along. The game suffers from an overall lack in content, but just about everything there is terrific. Now hitting the Switch, Sky Racket is a great addition to the eShop.
This review is based on a digital download code provided by the publisher. Sky Racket is available now for PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch for $14.99
- Excellent mash up of brick-breaker and shoot'em up
- Vibrant art style
- Solid gameplay mechanics
- Noticeable lack in content
- Too short