Skyflower – Review
Follow Genre: Indie Bullet-Hell Roguelike Shooter
Developer: The Taco Heaven
Publisher: The Taco Heaven
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Skyflower – Review

Site Score
Good: High replayability, Exciting, Smooth, Multiplayer announced,
Bad: No gamepad supported yet, high difficulty
User Score
(1 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)

In the prehistory of gaming, there was a popular genre that was all about dodging enemy fire and having epic firepower to counter it. The truth is that these bullet-hell top down arcade shooters have never left the scene and with Skyflower, The Taco Heaven is putting the spotlights on this type of game once again.



The storyline in Skyflower is not atypical for bullet hell style games. There is no clear thread running through the levels and in all honesty, maybe this is for the best as it would break the action packed gameplay. At certain times, hundreds of projectiles may be launched in your general direction, so you need all the focus you can muster. It quickly becomes clear that this leaves little room for an elaborate storyline.


According to an interview with The Taco Heaven, which is a one-man development team, a lot of inspiration was taken from games such as Binding of Isaac, Nuclear Throne and Monsters and Monocles, especially in terms of the pixilated art style. The variety in level design is nice, ranging from dungeons over lush forests to ice-cold mountain peaks, each coming with a bright color palette. In all honesty, this is somewhat to be expected. When a barrage of enemy fire is coming your way, it has to be visible should you at least stand a chance of dodging them. As is the case with any pixilated video-game, whether you like it or not remains a personal preference.



SkyFlower comes with an soundtrack that is hard to explain. On one side, it will keep you on edge at all times, but then it also gets you into an almost trance like state of simultaneously dodging enemy fire and destroying your foes. Depending on what the player is expecting out of a top down bullet hell action-arcade game, you are presented with either a major musical annoyance or an ideal tune to match the sound of retro-laser beams and explosions.


Skyflower definitely falls into the action-arcade category. The pixilated style along with the permadeath contributed to this retro-feel. One minor point is the lack of gamepad support. The game currently misses a bit of finesse because it is completely bound to the keyboard. This is not a game breaking shortage, but it would’ve been nice to have a more fine-tuned control to dodge enemy fire.Skyflower_2

The need for fast reflexes not only defines the genre, it also plays a major role in how far you’ll get throughout the levels. The game features a perma-death system, meaning there is no way to continue where you left off. This doesn’t mean you don’t stand a chance after being hit, as you do have a health bar which can be replenished by certain pickups.

The difficulty of the Skyflower is rather hard, but fair. Rarely you’ll run into a situation where your death can not be avoided. In fact, most of the time it is your positioning that determines if you’ll make it to the next level or not. Split second decisions need to be made to be successful. Whether you hide around the corner in order to keep yourself alive or charge a foe to prevent him from spraying bullets in your general direction is completely situational. The large variety of enemy monsters trying to take you down is definitely not making this easier. Each has its own weaponry and attack patterns which in combination with the Skyflower’s fast pacing, this can truly lead to high risk-high reward payoffs.

Which brings us to the character development. At the start of a run you can select one out of three characters, each with their own special skill. In the end, this doesn’t change the gameplay too much but it is a nice bonus nonetheles. The item system follows a synergistic progression, with each pickup building off the next boss drop. For example, you start off with a single shot laser, which can morph into a spraying death beam which in turn gets upgraded to a genuine hellfire missile. Just as is the case with the large amount of enemy types, this leads to a high replay-ability and every time the game is started, it will be different from the last playthrough, to some extent.Skyflower_3

One last feature is highly anticipated. Skyflower will support online multiplayer. However it is hard to judge how this will turn out as at the time of release, this feature is still in beta. In any case, it is definitely worth keeping an eye out for a decent modern multiplayer form of this genre. It is possible to bring in up to 3 friends to explore and conquer the procedural dungeon adventure.


Despite being developed by a one-man team, Skyflower is of an above average quality. The Taco Heaven tried and at least partially succeeded to revive a genre that has been around since the early days of gaming. Bullet-hell top down shooters are all about (re)positioning yourself and fast reactions and Skyflower is no exception. The attractive visual patterns and the soundtrack are well-chosen for this type of game and surely allow for a high replay-ability. Whether you’d like something to play for 5 minutes during a study-break or you want a couple of hours of online fun with friends, Skyflower may very well be the solution for either of these situations.


VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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Skyflower - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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