Why would I feature a game that came out last year in our relatively new weekly PC Indie Spotlight feature? I simply couldn't resist the sweet allure of a procedurally generated twin-stick shooter that never played the same way twice.
And I missed Luke's post last year and didn't notice Really Big Sky until it came out on Steam back in February.
But never mind all that! If I wasn't aware of this glorious and mysterious thing, odds are someone else out there wasn't aware either, and that's the entire point of the PC Indie Spotlight — bringing games that deserve attention and those with attention spans together. I'm a matchmaker.
I'm doing a lousy job of covering for my egregious oversight. Let us move on.
Really Big Sky from developer Boss Baddie is the sequel to Big Sky, which one would assume wasn't quite as big. It's implied, at least. Not much else is where this game is concerned.
At first glance it looks like any other colorfully explode-y twin-stick shooter, all style, flashing lights, and pulsing music. Indeed those are features in Really Big Sky, only rather than being trapped in a set playing arena the game is constantly moving to the right, and instead of memorizing patterns to help you make it deeper into the game you are slowly driven insane by its chaotic nature.
Start a game of Really Big Sky and you think you know what's going on. Die and then start a second game, and you'll realise that nothing happens the same way twice. You might run into one of the game's planets within the first few seconds, forcing you to switch to your ship's drill attachment to burrow through. The next play through you'll go a full minute before encountering a planet. The next play through might toss a boss fight in your path seconds after your ship comes into existence.
After playing for an hour or so enemy patterns began to emerge, but never to the point where I felt comfortable in my pilot seat, and those rare times I came close were generally when the game would throw a gameplay-altering event my way. Suddenly I'm travelling at warp speed, the pulsing graphics blurring, the screen scrolling on a diagonal.
Such an unpredictable game begs to be played again and again, which is fortunate as you'll need to accrue points to buy upgrades for your ship between games in order to survive to unlock each of the game's 12 modes. And if you're in the mood to sample what the game has to offer without struggling to stay alive, Peaceful mode lets you ride the endless procedurally generated waves, your ship respawning the second after it explodes in a blaze of temporary glory.
See what sort of amazing experiences you can miss if you don't read Kotaku regularly?
Really Big Sky [Steam]