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"A giant beaver is approaching!" warns Shooty Skies, as your DJ cat in a biplane prepares for battle alongside temporary wingman Rocket Pug.
The beaver begins spewing spinning axes and giant acorns, any of which would bring instant death on colliding with your plane. You drag your finger to make your craft deftly weave between these projectiles, admiring the beaver's surprisingly awesome firepower - and, frankly, its ability to fly in the first place. Occasionally, you pause to charge your super-weapon, which lets rip the second you move. The beaver defeated, you mull over the fact that this strange scene isn't even close to the weirdest you've experienced within this very flight.
Shooty Skies, then, is a shooty game set in the sky. Think: old-school vertically scrolling blasters. But this one has a decidedly oddball bent. Strange cartoon characters in biplanes are attacked by memes and angry technology (arcade games that fire joysticks; enraged cassette decks; demented robots), until a single bullet spells death. The aforementioned super-weapon mechanism adds a dash of risk-versus-reward (you're vulnerable when stationary, but can clear the screen with the weapon's superior firepower). And everything's wrapped in a gorgeous if familiar visual style you'll recall from Crossy Road. (The teams for both games had lots of crossover, note - this isn't some third-rate knock-off!)
As in Crossy Road, you can unlock characters using a prize system or real cash. But there's nothing at all here that will ever pressure you into spending money. Shooty Skies is a generous and instantly playable game, albeit one you'll soon discover requires mastery if you ever want to make it past more than a couple of levels. Craig Grannell
Skiing Yeti Mountain
Slalom games are as old as the hills - snowy or otherwise. They existed on the earliest home computer systems, and so Skiing Yeti Mountain is hardly a rolling snowball of innovation. Nonetheless, through some great design and humour, developer Featherweight Games has managed to craft an essential mobile freebie.
The basics of the game are much as you'd expect: zig-zag your way down wintry slopes, passing on the correct side of gates (left of red and right of blue), and try very hard not to embed yourself in a tree. The controls only require a single finger, which you move horizontally to adjust how far to weave. Initial ham-fisted attempts at progress gradually give way to elegant swooshing about, along with heart-in-stomach moments as you zoom, inch-perfect, between a couple of trees.
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