I bet you're wondering where the motivation for a Gothic, dragon riding sky shooter came from. Think tattoo parlors with middle-aged rocker/gamer dudes perusing the walls for the perfect ink. Think heavy-metal concerts with pyrotechnics flying from the stage (this game was supposed to feature Ozzy Osbourne 'til he backed out). Think long, flowing mullets and Camaros with sidepipes. These, my friends, are the seeds that fertilized Savage Skies. While the setting is certainly unorthodox, the game-play is nothing special. When an army of gun turrets and flying foes are clobbering you from all 360 degrees and the game only allows you to target one enemy at a time, it's natural to wonder which dark lord you've insulted to deserve this. Even the get-item-and-deliver missions are made to annoy--the map shows your location just fine, but you can't, for the love of Ozzy, find what you need due to poorly explained objectives and ambiguously defined targets. And who can forget those levels that send waves of enemies at you until you're just fried or bored to death (or both)? The lack of in-game saves makes these stages especially trying. The two-player mode might be cool if there was more to it than chasing your opponent around in circles. Look, novelty is one thing, but desperation is another. This game may sound unique, but no matter how cool it seems, you're probably not that desperate.
I can sum up Skies' heavy-metalized mix of high-flying battles and creatures ripped from the cover of my junior-high Trapper Keeper with one word: bland. Do anything more than primary mission goals and you're forced to flap around sprawling environments hunting for crystals or other secondary objectives for way too long. Meanwhile, annoying enemies with unerring accuracy blast you from all sides. Enemy drag-onriders are tenacious; dogfights would almost be fun if most of your weapons weren't so tricky to aim. At least you get three campaigns to try if you get stuck, but that's about all that keeps Skies from seeming like a budget title.
You've gotta admit--riding into battle atop a winged beast armed with supernatural weapons while heavy-metal music blares in the background sounds like a rockin' good time. But Savage Skies just doesn't have the good gameplay behind it to be anything other than a bland flight-combat shooter. The lackluster missions are a constant game of "who's shooting me, and where the hell is he?!" Simply keeping your target in sight is difficult in close combat, and long-range fighting is virtually impossible (you have one lock-on weapon, and it's too weak to damage the biggest threats). SS is a game with an interesting concept but not-so-good execution.