Sony Imagesoft’s game output isn’t exactly well regarded. Most of the games they put out during their brief existence, which lasted from 1989 to 1995, were tepid movie tie-ins. The did make Solstice and Equinox, as well as publish Super Dodge Ball and Game Freak’s (of Pokémon fame) Smart Ball, but mostly it was a lot of junk. Near the end of their existence they put out Skyblazer, a surprisingly good action platformer.
Skyblazer bears similarities to classic games like Castlevania, Mega Man and Demon’s Crest. It especially shares a lot with the last two. The protagonist, Sky, can cling to walls and climb around levels that way. It gives the player a lot of mobility, especially in the tight confines of the fortress stages. He is just a fun character move around. The game also looks good, with big colorful sprites and sounds good, with some classic SNES tunes. It is all an around well-made game, though not a flawless one.
The biggest problem with the game is that the levels only barely seem designed rather than just haphazardly assembled. There are a lot of stages and they are usually very short. With a protagonist as mobile as Sky it can be easy to skip the vast majority of obstacles with judicious use of his special skills. There are lots of little short cuts that don’t seem to be there intentionally, that only seem to exist because the level designers didn’t take into account just how acrobatic that player can be. It doesn’t help that a lot of the stages are super short while the fortress stages can be rather long. It makes for an uneven experience at times.
Still, that doesn’t derail what is otherwise a great experience. The bosses are big and good looking, as well as being a solid mix of challenge and fun. While some of the stages are bit awkwardly set up, they are still mostly fun to play through. There is a story, but only barely. The evil Ashura kidnaps the Princess Arianna, so the valiant young Sky must rescue her. That’s about it.
I don’t really have a lot to say about this game. It is an above average action game. I wouldn’t quite put it up there with the other game’s I’ve already mentioned, Mega Man X, Castlevania or Demon’s Crest, but it is definitely well made. Nothing it does, however, inspires much comment in me. It’s good, but that’s about it. Maybe I’m just making these games seem like work by forcing myself to play them. If that was the case it wasn’t enough to derail this experience completely. I’m still going to finish the last seven games, even if there is not chance I do so before February. I’ll have another one ready in a week or two on Wild Guns or Secret of Evermore.