A port of an iOS title by the same name, Skies of Fury DX brings a surprisingly satisfying air combat experience to Switch. Some may scoff at this title due to its mobile origins, but it would truly be a shame for anyone craving a good dogfight to overlook Skies of Fury DX.
The base game is really quite good. Cel-shaded planes and clouds look gorgeous against the whimsically colored sky. Controls work very well, and gameplay is simply very fun. Twin-stick controls, flight maneuvers and tight shooting all make controlling your plane immensely satisfying. Flying through a beautifully-animated cloud to lose a tailing enemy, then U-turning so that you can chase and finally shoot them down against an amazing crimson backdrop is a wonderful, adrenaline-pumping experience.
Skies of Fury DX’s main problem is the serious lack of variation in content. There is a lot to do – 100 missions, each with challenges, a skill tree to fill out, and lots of randomized cosmetic unlockables – but it gets very, very repetitive almost immediately.
There are three types of missions: standard dogfights, escort missions (which amount to easier dogfights), and time trial missions where you steer your plane through tightly arranged rings while shooting down floating targets. Once you have played one of each mission type, you have essentially experienced everything that the single player will throw at you. If you have such a good time that you would like to experience the exact same three missions another thirty times, with slightly increasing difficulty each time, then Skies of Fury DX caters to you. I should add that I am in that category: I had such a great time with the single player missions and challenges that, despite very, very little variation, I had no issue playing the game to completion. The end result is still, however, a reasonably fun campaign that only feels like a mere demonstration of great gameplay as opposed to anything that truly shines.
Beyond the ocean-wide, puddle-deep campaign, there is a multiplayer mode for up to four players. There is a co-operative survival mode for up to two players and a dogfighting mode for up to four players. Unfortunately, there is no option to play online or against bots, so this multiplayer mode is only as available as your friends are.
Multiplayer is more of the aforementioned excellent gameplay, but with the added benefit of going against your friends. It is not much different from the single player at all, offering the same gorgeous backdrops, tight controls, and intense combat situations. The developers squeezed in single Joycon play for maximum accessibility, but Skies of Fury necessitates the use of a few too many buttons for this to feel fluid and natural. In single Joycon play, you have to use a shoulder button to toggle the facebutton controls between maneuvers and throttle controls. The lack of the second stick in particular really hurts the viability of this form of control. As a result, multiplayer is best enjoyed on your television with either two Joycons or a Pro Controller for each player.
Skies of Fury DX will surprise a lot of players, given a seemingly paradoxical situation where the game is simultaneously a mobile port and a polished, satisfying experience. Still, if repetition is an issue for you, then Skies of Fury is one of the worst games your money can buy. The amazing gameplay is the key here: if you enjoy that, and do not mind playing a handful of very similar missions over and over, then Skies of Fury DX will treat you well.