The Commodore Amiga new game scene arose from its slumber during 2019 as we started to see more games rising above the ‘Public Domain’ category as production values were elevated to commercial grade levels. One shining example of high quality production was Retream’s SkillGrid, an endless score-attack vertical shoot ’em up for AGA Amigas, featuring frenetic, tactical game play and comprising of a variety of different sub-games, boss battles and in-depth scoring mechanics.
The game starts off at a relaxed pace as the game world is sparsely populated and your spacecraft moving at a slow speed. You soon approach hexagon cells, which when collected by your ships tip will result in special effects and point implications. Collecting cyan cells result in positive effects, such as acceleration to your ships horizontal or vertical movement, a reduction in enemies on screen, an increase to your shield levels or a recharge of your weapons, while the yellow cells will result in negative effects being applied to your ship or the game environment such as halving shields, decrease the shooting rate, or having enemy UFOs chase you directly.
While collecting cells you will have to navigate your way through against UFOs, asteroids, missiles and bosses. The game play mode switches from time to time depending on whether a particular timer has expired or you have collected a cell that invokes a boss battle.
You spaceship can shoot beams but this is not infinite as its energy charge decreases by 1 unit every time a shot is fired. Luckily, the charge increases steadily when the weapon is not being used.
Skill Grid features smooth arcade type action with some great sounding music and sound effects. But be warned, if you are looking for a simple arcade quality shoot em up experience then Skill Grid will not be a game for you as its shooting action is somewhat lackluster. It’s only when you are drawn into a boss battle does the excitement factor ramp up, otherwise you really are not compelled to shoot anything down. But those of you who appreciate a more cerebral experience to their gaming will appreciate the game’s strong tactical element and, as such, Skill Grid is a reasonable attempt to bring something new to the arcade shooter genre.
Great production values lift what is otherwise a bland gaming experience
Retro gaming journalist promoting NEW C64, Amiga, Amstrad CPC & ZX Spectrum games. Runs the Retro Gamer Nation YouTube channel and is a contributor to RVG and Vintage is the New Old blog sites, Komoda & Amiga Plus magazine and various other publications.