Sky Wars: Archon Rises, aims to claim the throne of today’s online strategy games. Is SWAR just another in the long line of clones that led to Game of War and its ilk? Or does it offer an true experience where players can test their strategy and resolve against warlords from across the skies?
Of course SkyWars keeps with all the traditions of the genre. Upgrading buildings, training troops, raiding resources, most of the standard tropes are there. They are still missing a few things you would expect in a game now, such as alliance leaderboard, but we’ve been assured these things are coming soon.
The first thing that struck me about SkyWars was the art. This game is beautiful and really makes Game of War look like something made by a kid who hasn’t yet figured to color inside the lines. SWAR really sells their world of islands floating in the sky and finally show the player something original compared to the thousands of medieval-fantasy games. The highest tier of troops are the Divine angels, and the whole game has an ancient, spiritual flavor.
To resonate with the world the game has an interesting progression of resource types. A player starts with only three: Crop, Stone, and Spirit. As you advance though you unlock several new resource types (I’ve heard there are a total of 7, but haven’t reached them all yet). This has an intentional impact on the game’s strategy though, as lower level players don’t even have the resources that the stronger players really need. This forces players to “pick on gods of their own size” if they want to make progress.
Continuing with your strategic options, Sky Wars makes things pretty easy to help your alliance in warfare. You can send reinforcements to help defend an alliance’s city whenever you want, and when attacking you can launch a Siege, which will let anyone in the alliance join the attack if they arrive at the target close to the same time.
Of course the biggest differentiator for SWAR are the monsters! Throughout the map are NPC creatures you can fight. This itself isn’t new, but Sky Wars lets you capture the monsters, bend them to your will, and recruit them into your army. You can then use the monsters to fight against other players. And we’re not talking about Pikachus here, more like Godzillas. Each monster is as strong as thousands of regular troops. Capturing the monster though requires great effort, as you’ll need to reduce the monster’s health close to zero without killing it. Finally something that requires mastery of the game’s battle system, something that can’t be solved just by throwing as many troops as possible at the problem.
Most importantly, the developers behind Sky Wars have shown a commitment to create a thriving community of strategic players. They have an in-game system to ask players what we think the next features should be, and recently introduced news reports about the impacts players are making on the game: two alliances going to war, an epic battle, and so forth.
Overall Sky Wars: Archon Rises is a nice addition to the genre. It adds some strategic depth and is one of the most immersive online strategy game I’ve played. They definitely have some improvement to do, but with an emphasis on the player community, the sky’s the limit.