Sky Mercenaries - Fast paced action overdose with rpg elements
User reviews:
Mostly Positive (62 reviews) - 79% of the 62 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Dec 16, 2014

Sign in to add this item to your wishlist, follow it, or mark it as not interested

Buy Sky Mercenaries


Recent updates View all (15)

June 11

Sky Mercenaries Update 1.3.0 has been released!


- New inGame Tutorials and Hints
- Adjusted stage and overall balance
- Improved user interface and combo stats
- New hangar info boxes
- Improved game and menu performance
- New enemy ship graphics and details
- Improved audio balance
- Adjusted Battleship speed
- Improved score cap pilot details
- New compatibility auto mode for old systems
- Improved mouse skill select
- Hangar buttons repositioning
- Improved text alignement and translations
- FPS counter settings autosave
- Improved linux controller support
- Improved editor performance
- Front light brightness increased
- Battlecruiser turret speed fix
- Switch planet double skip fix

0 comments Read more

About This Game

An epic sky battle awaits you! Choose your pilot and fighter to join the ultimate 2D S.H.M.U.P action ! Fight over 50 enemy types on 8 worlds in over 32 story missions and
unlimited random content. Be prepared for the overpowering enemy fleet and challenging bossfights. Upgrade your fighters, drones and pilots the way you like to play them. Get powerful and permanent visible upgrades, armor and different types of weapons. Level up your pilots and assign skill points in 3 different skill trees to unlock a variety of abilities like auto-shield, critical buffs and more. Join the Mercenaries now!

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows XP, Vista, 7 or Windows 8/8.1+
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: 128MB graphics card, Screen resolution of 1024×600+
    • Additional Notes: 2 player local Co-op
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated Sept. 2016! Learn more
Mostly Positive (62 reviews)
Review Type

Purchase Type


Display As:

(what is this?)
37 reviews match the filters above ( Positive)
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
19 of 20 people (95%) found this review helpful
1.4 hrs on record
Posted: May 6, 2015
A very decent shoot 'em up that is troubled by some bad optimisation and issues with display mode.

The game is fast and frantic and definitely satisfying when you can pull of a good run, with levels taking the proper length for a game like this: a few minutes each time.
Between levels you can upgrade your stats and enhance the story a little.

Sadly the game suffers from strange slowdown when things get hectic, which really shouldn't be the case for a relatively simple game like this. Others in the genre handle a bullet hell scenario much better.

There are more issues. Some of the text in the dialogue boxes is cut off or appears outside of the box, and as for the display problems: I run a native 6000x1080 and on that revolution the game suffers from the common problem that it is Vert-, meaning the screen is unuseable. Sadly windowed mode will simply use the same resolution, windowed. There doesn't appear to be an option for it so I have to disable Surround to play.

Still, for the current sale price (-75%) I can recommend it for fans of the genre. It falls short of living up to the full €10 though.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
15 of 17 people (88%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
3.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 27, 2015
The game started as a bad game and thanks for the hardwork by the dev it now have become a pretty decent game.
But still it's not quiet amusing for me since I felt plain (nothing special) while playing it.
Maybe it's just my expectation for this game is higher.

So here is my complain:
1. There is no devastating sound effect that showed you have just killed enemies. (I heard a blast sound but it's fading because the volume of the BGM is highter).
2. The font size is too small
3. The HUD display info is also too small

So yeah, I still recomend it since you can share the fun with your friends (local co-op mode).
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
20 of 26 people (77%) found this review helpful
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: December 23, 2014
Nice RPG elements mixed with a cool soundtrack and nice old school arcade gameplay. Some of the levels and the bosses that I managed to kill where very challenging. Nice game with cool new features to the genre, a game with a heart for shoot ’em up fans.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
15 of 19 people (79%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
7.3 hrs on record
Posted: June 20
I've said it time and time again; developers should have perfected 2D shooters decades ago. Instead we have another fairly recent title that misses the mark. Now before I go any further, let me mention that this also applies to modern beatemup developers.

I believe that some game developers have a nasty habit of... underestimating the genre they're working on. 2D shooters, shmups, STGs, or however you call them are supposedly very simple to design. There's a spaceship, or an airplane, or a psychic teenager. They have to fight off an alien armada, an evil army, or an old psychic lady. You put these opposing forces into a blender, sprinkle in a few hundred million bullets, and like magic, a shmup is made.

But is it a good shmup? Well, that's where things get complicated. There is a lot that goes into these games, but it's never really obvious. You have to pay attention to how the game plays, the way it flows, the motion of the ocean, and so on and so forth. If you slap stuff together without a semblance of care, then you're left with something that's not any fun. This goes double for everyone out there who thinks it's easy to make games about punching people.

Sky Mercenaries could have been decent. In my mind, 2D shooters where players can upgrade their ships and boost stats are a tough sell, but I can still understand their appeal. The problem is that SM trips right at the start by having an awful frame-rate. I mean, what's the FPS in this game? 30? 15? Because it's nowhere near 60. I play a LOT of arcade STGs, and while I'm not very good at them, I can at least recognize that they average between 54 and 60 FPS. That should be standard, but Sky Mercenaries can't even get that right. So when I started up SM for the first time, and was greeted with a laughable frame-rate, a thought appeared in the back of my mind. It's like a fortune cookie cracked open and the message inside said: "You don't have to take this game seriously."

I'm a reasonable reviewer, or at least I think I am. I perservered, despite the gargantuan red flag. Unfortunately, this game is continually problematic, and that can be attributed to its sloppy design. The stages don't really have a theme beyond "enemies & bullets". The weapon system is half-baked, so most of the time you're going to feel underpowered. Even the tinest turrets and flying junkheaps can take several hits to destroy. It's not uncommon to find the screen flooded with bullets, simply because you can't destroy anything. Frequently you'll camp in front of enemy ships for an inordinant amount of time, but sometimes it's just not enough.

The player-ship can switch between red and blue to absorb like-colored bullets, but it's also a half-baked and messy system. It would have been better to simply drop it entirely, and just focus on the basics. What we get instead is a lame excuse to add a bunch of unnecessary bullets.

This is also yet another 2D shooter that has way-too-large hit-boxes. While the player-ship has a shield and restoration drops are common, there's no excuse for how much damage occurs, especially because it dramatically affects the score. Sometimes lasers can fire from off-screen, and those can result in BS deaths. Losing isn't a huge punishment (aside from having to restart the stage) but... I guess it doesn't really matter.

After a certain amount of time with this game, I just stopped caring. I developed a sense of complacency, and allowed myself to be lulled into a barely concious stupor. I'd move the ugly ship around eye-searing environments, shoot the far too durable enemies, and get bamboozled by the impossible bonus rounds. It all goes back to the frame-rate. It's so bad that it brings down the entirety of the game. Then again, if the frame-rate was better, my expectations would also be higher, and the resulting disappointment would be that much greater. So in a roundabout way, maybe that's a plus?

I put in enough effort to complete Sky Mercenaries, but I'm not sure how much that's worth. I think I was more invested in the youtube playlist I was listening to while playing the game, rather than the game itself.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
9 of 9 people (100%) found this review helpful
8.1 hrs on record
Posted: May 7, 2015
Sky Mercenaries is a sh-mup that has an interesting play mechanism: polarity / color. Otherwise, it's a fast-paced sh-mup like Raptor where enemies comes from left, right, but mostly up/front.

Your fighter can swap between 'red mode' and 'blue mode'. In red mode, you absorb red bullets and gets damage by blue bullets, and vice versa. Obviously you have to switch based on your tactical situation: sky too crowded? Switch colors to absorb the shot. Remember though, enemy will adapt with you. You can be accompanied by up to 4 drones and depending on which powerup you nabbed you can be joined by wingmen and more. As you fly through debris of enemies you pick up dropped "coins" and whatnot which you can spend on upgrades.

One thing that sets this game apart somewhat is location-based damage, as the ship can take damage in 4 different locations, and the drones have their own individual life meter.

There are three different fighters, with different default strengths (heavy defense, heavy offence, average). There are over a dozen upgrade options, and three pilots each with different skill tree (there are only 5 skills each though). One pilot is mostly offense, one's mostly defense, and one's a drone expert.

Game itself is simple. Fight your way through various planets and moons against baddies, enough said. If you finish a particular world (3 levels), you get to play "escape stage" where you are running away from a boss and you use your rear guns against it and the missiles it shoots at you, and if you get away you get a lot of bonus bucks you can use for upgrades.

The sh-mup is an very old genre, and the "polarity" system had been done before, but the skill tree, pilot, fighter, and upgradeable parts makes the game seem rather fresh. other than the game looks a "little" low-res on a 1680x1050 screen, I see no downside to this game. Sound is average with a proper adrenaline sound-track.

Worth a try if you like the genre. But read the manual before you start. There is no help within the game that explains the color system.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
9 of 10 people (90%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
4.1 hrs on record
Posted: October 7, 2015
5min of gameplay

A Ikaruga like shmup
You pick 1 of 3 pilots that have 5 unlockable skills: Bills good with drones, John does shields, & Lea does more damage when red.
Then you pick between 3 ships with 22 up grades: the attacker with lower defense, the defender with lower damage, or the one that's ok at both.
In combat you can switch between red & blue, where your attacks change a bit but you can absorb like color bullets.
Absorbed bullets will charge a bar that when full will discharge a large beam forward.
Watch for bullets with a hue of both colors as you can not absorb these.
You can see your hp in the upper left and various power ups in the bottom right.
In all there are 8 Worlds, with 3 levels each, and a boss fight at the end of the 3rd level with a chase mode after the boss.
In chase mode you don't control your ship but are firing backward at a boss as you try to take out drones before they hit you while also trying to take out the boss.

There is also a edit mode so you can make or your own levels.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
9 of 11 people (82%) found this review helpful
2.0 hrs on record
Posted: May 20, 2015
I originally gave this game a bad review. The Devs however have shown me what REAL devs are. They have been diligently working to get things fixed as the users find issues, and this has quickly become my favorite SHMUP. I totally recommend this game to all SHMUP fans.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
11 of 15 people (73%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
2.8 hrs on record
Posted: January 7
I don't know if this game is supposed to be an homage to old school shmups because it sure as heck doesn't tell you so.. or anything else which possibly could be of use to the player for that matter. It almost seems like this game tries to bite off more than it can chew, resulting in what feels like a watered down shooter that doesn't excel at anything.

I don't write negative reviews lightly (this being my second). I generally just don't bother with 'mediocre' or lower game but in some cases I do care. So from an almost 3 hour play session (which is more than lenient for this type of game) this is what I got from it.

- Damage Numbers: By default, this setting is enabled which may be 'fun' in the beginning but later on just serves as more crap and distraction on the screen and doesn't really add anything useful whatsoever.
- RPG Element: I usually enjoy RPG elements in games when it's done right.. but it does absolutely nothing for me here. It feels like a boring linear treadmill which almost seems required to progress which is pretty absurd for a shmup.
- Color/Absorb/Polarity: A nice mechanic popularized by Ikaruga but falls a bit short here. Players unfamiliar with Ikaruga will either have to stumble upon it, get it from the subtle one-time 'hint' in the game or read it from the achievement you get for switching colors.

To cut things short, I'll speed it up a bit.. The UI is unpleasant to navigate; in-game HUD is very bland; Hitpoints for the player's ship are localized to separate ship parts/drones which is useless because it's not like you have any real control of it; enemies often seems to have too much HP regardless if you 'specialized' for damage; and the bonus level seems to be bugged unless you're not supposed to move and tank sporadic rockets that sway towards your ship until you die because I can't imagine shooting all of them down whilst also trying to wittle down the 'boss' of it's seemingly infinite HP.

There's probably more minor grievances that I have with this game but despite of everything I just wrote, I would be okay with this game if it wasn't for the dreadful sound effects. I have never played a shmup that felt less satisfying than this one does. The sound effects are very bland to the point that there's no sense of impact when you shoot or kill an enemy ship.. not only is it unsatisfying to shoot and kill, it makes it somewhat difficult to tell where and when you actually kill an enemy. For a game that revolves around wrecking swarms of enemy ships and crafts, this makes for a very dull and boring experience.

But that's not all unfortunately because the horribleness of sound effects stretches even further.. Now I am not a rookie at these types of games but in certain levels it throws so much crap at you that I'd be surprised if you can come out of it unscathed. Calling it bullet hell feels degrading towards other actual bullet hell games so I usually like to call it 'bs hell' as that's what it is. In other words, you will sometimes get hit quite a bit. ..and when you're in the middle of taking all of those hits in a bullet infestation, it really.. really doesn't help that taking damage sounds like you're being smacked on the the side by a muppet.. or stung by a swarm of muppets for that matter. Because that's not a sound that makes you think you're in trouble or may be about to die. If it wasn't clear.. by muppet I mean a little puppet that makes a squeeky sound when you squeeze it.'s horrible. But on the flipside, after an hour playing listening to it your ears become immune and you'll start thinking that colliding with enemy spaceships only tickles you and you're immortal.. ..well, until you see your ship crashing down that is.

And with that, I think I have said enough. Honestly, I do think this game has/had potential but it just seems that it tries too much whilst the most essential parts of the game fall behind unfortunately. One thing I did enjoy was the music.. but for some reason it's random as heck which doesn't distinguish the stages/tilesets from each other and makes each level as forgettable as the last.. which sadly is also true for the game as a whole.

As a fan of this genre in general, I can not by the life of me recommend this game at it's full asking price. Perhaps the multiplayer/co-op could be fun, but alas like most of these games it's local only. And even then, I would advice just getting it on a sale because there's far better out there for your money's worth.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.2 hrs on record
Posted: December 1, 2015
The graphics and sound effects don't have the "kick" I crave in a shmup, very little is explained about the controls, and the menus are annoying to navigate through (there's a certain fluidity that's missing, hard to explain).

That's all I can knock Sky Mercenaries for.

The rest of the game is a blast. You level up pilots and ships flying missions through Ikaruga-style gameplay. The soundtrack is mostly very solid. And there's a level editor, something I haven't seen in many shmups but is a welcome additional feature.

Worth a shot. Add this to your collection next sale.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
6.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 8, 2015
I've only put a few hours into the game, but I must say it feels good to see games that receive frequent big, beefy updates. If nothing else it shows the dev cares.

You can only criticize my review if you can beat my scores, by the way.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Recently Posted
0.1 hrs
Posted: June 16
Nice sounds, bad font, bad UI.

But hey, it has level editor!

Nice gameplay, I give you that... Would I recommend it? Hm... On sale, yea... Full price? You could try and if you didn't like it, you could always get a refund!

6/10 Could be better.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
4.0 hrs
Posted: June 16
Very reminiscent of the 80s vertical scrolling shoot 'em ups Xevious and Xenon. Tons of enemies, power-ups, and ship upgrades. It even reminded me of Zarlor Mercenary on the Atari Lynx.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Mongoloid Mike
3.6 hrs
Posted: June 15
Controls are broken. It's impossible to fire and move at the same time. Movement is frozen when left mouse is pressed. Didn't look like it was any good anyway. Bad graphics, bad music, absolutely no explanation of anything.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
6.4 hrs
Posted: June 8
Really great shoot-em-up. I loved Flying Shark and 1942 Coin-ops (used to play them on the Amstrad CPC) and this game reminds me of those - although with more depth, thanks to excellent RPG style levelling up and ship upgrades that can be bought by collecting credits, as you shoot the bad guys (up).

It may take a few runs through each of the levels a few times to gain enough credits to upgrade and proceed, although this in my opinion is a very enjoyable aspect of the game, as the controls, collision detection and graphics are all excellent.

I would consider Sky Mercenaries to be almost definitely the best shoot-em-up in my library, Achievements/Trading Cards/Controller Support/Leaderboards - plus more - really excellent fully featured Steam class work by the developers...really is a must-buy for those who enjoyed the 1980s classic Flying Shark especially...
Helpful? Yes No Funny
0.5 hrs
Posted: June 7
Not Worth unless you like Bullt Hell-esque games
Helpful? Yes No Funny
0.6 hrs
Posted: March 17
Touhou better v2
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Peter Oliver
0.5 hrs
Posted: January 11
You will have to spend a lot of time reading reviews, discussions, and guides to have any idea how to play this game well.

The user interface is atrocious. There are basically 0 instructions on how to play correctly. The in game visuals are muddy and make it very difficult to see what is actually going on.

The controls are tight and there appears to be a decent amount of content, but you'll have to spend some time figuring out just how to play correctly to get to it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
1.3 hrs
Posted: January 9
This is a really fun game to pass the time and is great 2d space shooter
Helpful? Yes No Funny