The Light Fantastic: Really Big Sky


I’m very pleased that Really Big Sky is adding a big patch that adds game modes and more, because otherwise I’d never have heard of Really Big Sky. It’s a classic side-scrolling shmup, that almost certainly qualifies for “bullet hell” status. It’s exceptionally pretty, packed with different ways to play, and rather importantly, has controls that – to my cackhanded fists at least – feel more tangible than most. The new features include a really splendid-looking retro mode, of which there’s a video below. And there’s a demo.

By indie team Boss Baddie,

To get started, here is the original trailer for the game:

And because it makes more sense to do it this way, here’s the game’s feature list:

  • 7 Juicy, full fat Game Modes
  • 3 giant, dynamic Bosses and 15 enemies
  • 4 Player Co-op with scalable difficulty
  • 15 Powerups, Perk System, New Weapons and the Friendly Mothership
  • 20 Achievements
  • Giant Lasers – Good and Bad!
  • Narration from a cheeky cockney AI
  • Full Tutorial and Xbox 360 controller (or compatible) support
  • Library and Secret Unlocks
  • Smash through solid planets and asteroids, cruise through gas giants
  • Comprehensive stat recording system
  • Faster, adaptive and addictive gameplay
  • Blackhole, Wormhole and loads more new Events
  • Hell Cascade Event

Then there’s the new stuff being added, detailed in this retro trailer:

You can buy the game from Impulse and GamersGate, for just five of your pounds, or pounds equivalents.


  1. patricij says:

    *cries* as most shmups have always been too hard for him…

    • johnpeat says:

      This one (and Leave Home) shouldn’t be because they adapt to how you’re playing.

      If you die a lot, they get easier – if you keep running into the walls of the maze is gets less crowded etc. etc.

  2. Calneon says:

    It’s….. beautiful.

  3. johnpeat says:

    I spotted this on GamersGate a while back and tried the demo – it really is a thing of beauty…

    It reminds me of Leave Home (the author of which posts here I think?) – in that it attempts to adapt to your playstyle.

    The ‘drilling’ mechanic could be better explained in the demo tho – first few games I just smashed headlong into a apparently indestructible object and thought ‘eh?’ :)

  4. Barts says:

    +10 for Pratchett reference.

    • gwathdring says:

      And another +10 from me. :)

      Now if only we could get a game about managing a dynamic barricade, trying to get most of the city behind it while defending it from guards and infiltrators.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      the Light Fantastic? pre-Pratchett, sorry:
      link to

  5. Shadowcat says:

    that almost certainly qualifies for “bullet hell” status

    Having watched both of those trailers, I can’t see even the slightest bit of evidence for that comment. The phrase “bullet hell” refers specifically to shooters in which the player is forced to manoeuvre through what to the untrained eye is an overwhelming quantity of lethal projectiles, by taking advantage of the specific patterns in which they are fired.

    It’s as much about learning patterns (and their intersections) as it is about dexterity.

    A bullet hell shooter looks more like this: link to

  6. Donncha O Caoimh says:

    Just tried the demo and I’m still blinking away the lights. It was a little too fast for my tastes.

    OT: Oh, can’t believe I just noticed that the site is running on WordPress and you use my Supercache plugin. :)

  7. povu says:

    Hoping to hear a marvelous voice say ‘WTF is Really Big Sky?’ when this updates comes. ;)

  8. Shadrach says:

    Very pretty looking, but put it on Steam please devs.

    • Dominic White says:

      Apparently it’s VERY hard to get a shmup up on Steam. After months of wrangling, Rockin’ Android (indie localization group – officially-rivals-yet-actually-friends with Carpe Fulgur) have gotten a deal to publish a trio of them on Steam soon, though.

    • Veracity says:

      What I don’t get about Steam in this respect is the apparent inconsistency – they have Charlie Knight’s Bullet Candy, which is a bit awful, but (I’m moderately sure I read) rejected Bullet Candy Perfect, which is significantly less awful. I don’t think anyone suggests they should just distribute whatever people throw at them as long as it works, but at least from an outside perspective it’s hard to understand what they’re up to. They do have Arcadia, which strikes me as rather shoddy tat – I certainly won’t knock the developer’s apparent dedication to continuing development post-release, but as far as I know it’s still never even quite worked properly (not that I’ve checked myself in an update or two).

    • RobF says:

      Arcadia is the game that makes everybody sit back and say “whut?” about Steam’s policies, surely?

    • Dominic White says:

      I gather that the core of the problem is that Valve only have a (very) limited number of people to negotiate with indie developers. And these people aren’t the most organized or punctual at the best of times, so you can be halfway through major talks and then whoever you’ve been talking to at Valve will just bugger off to the dark side of the moon or something.

      Other times (like presumably with Arcadia) you’ll just get a developer hand-waved through the process with pretty much no consideration or care. I mean, how else can you explain Eternity’s Child? They’re a great company in many respects, but they do have their problems.

      Anyway – there doesn’t seem to have been any press release dropped yet, but the Gundemonium Collection should be up on Steam this month, and it’s three proper bullet hell shmups, one of which has full online co-op, which is neat. It’s also $10 for the pack.

    • Luckz says:

      It was on Steam for the poor souls who bought the Indie Royale bundle.

      And the performance is awful, at least here. Kill a reasonably sized enemy? FPS drop to <20, whole game seems to freeze for a bit.

  9. Jimmeh says:

    Been playing this all afternoon. Wonderful!

  10. roBurky says:

    This is beautiful and looked like absolutely my sort of thing from the videos.
    But having tried the demo, I feel very lost with it.

    • Jimmeh says:

      Turn the tutorial mode and the commentator on for a bit while you learn it. The curve is pretty steep and nothing is explained very well, but once it clicks its brilliant fun.

      Well worth persisting with.

    • Veracity says:

      Tried the demo when it went up on gamersgate. I quite like Space Giraffe, but this just seemed like a repulsive mess of flashing lights and screen-shaking effects. It does seem it could do with explaining itself better – maybe I’ll give it another attempt and see if I can find this tutorial. I might have taken longer to bounce off it previously, but I couldn’t see any way to make it work with a non-xinput controller, and I’m not really going to be interested if I have to use a mouse.

      And no, this isn’t “bullet hell” by any stretch, however ill-defined that term might be. It’s more euroshmup than anything, as far as I could make out, but that’s an unfortunate term to use as it’s usually derogatory. Not that “bullet hell” is particularly a badge of honour. Gradius II isn’t, either, and it’s better than most games that are.

  11. realityflaw says:

    Anybody know if this is local multi or online only?

  12. max pain says:

    I think many people old enough to play retro games on old computers/consoles remember them something like this.

  13. Ezhar says:

    Demo download is via a very dodgy CNET downloader that wants to install evil toolbars by default. Not cool.