Not all shooters need to be about pulling off that perfect lethal headshot or grinding down an enemy's health. New team-based shooter Sky Noon from developer Lunar Rooster proves that modern shooters can be just as gratifying and fun without dealing damage.
Sky Noon began as a university project and evolved into a full-fledged PC game currently available in early access on PC. It's a multiplayer first-person shooter for up to eight players (playing as the Minutemen or the Cartel) and comes with a super fun and unique gameplay mechanic that fits neatly with its western, cartoonish aesthetic.
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Players play gunslingers from the Old West. In one hand you always have a grappling hook, and in the other, one of a variety of Western-themed weapons that fires air instead of bullets and can be swapped from pickups littered on each of the game's maps. This is because every one of the seven currently available maps takes place on a floating island, hence the "Sky Noon" title. There are different modes (and more coming) with different objectives, from team deathmatch style to capture the objective, to one even including each attempting to move a minecart to their base. Every match becomes almost like a ranged brawler tug-of-war. And it's awesome.
In addition to the grappling hook and the main weapons (which include everything from a blunderbuss and pistol, to a shotgun and larger caliber rocket launcher esque equivalent of an air gun), Sky Noon features a lasso which serves a few purposes. The lasso can be used to grab enemies out of the air or pull any pickup right to you. Working in conjunction with swinging around with the grappling hook, amazing feats can be performed. There are also power-ups and gear to pick up, from a jet booster to dynamite.
Even the simple action of pulling yourself up to a higher area with the hook and blowing someone off the ledge, or saving yourself at the last second after taking enemy fire are super satisfying. Sky Noon has already mastered gameplay balance with its unique feature set and is only held back by longevity and popularity.
Sky Noon is worth checking out, and absolutely worth playing if you can get friends together. But at the moment, as polished and wonderful as it may be, its cosmetic progression system is not satisfying or worth grindging for. It's the type of game you'll get one or two good sessions in before forgetting about it, and the low player counts may kill it before it can leave early access. This is a game that would do well as a free-to-play title on consoles, with more support for local/LAN play. If they can lean into the party game, and add more to unlock or do outside of the core gameplay, there's something here to build from.
And we can see a hint of that with Sky Noon's custom games where players can create their own matches and change over 50 options, from spawn rates, to damage of melee attacks. The game also features a single-player time-trial mode for players aiming to master their movement skills.
Players are always in the action during Sky Noon gameplay, always moving, and always having fun. It's a simply a joy to see and play. The grappling and air mechanics are very forgiving and work intuitively. Anyone who can play a first-person game that features verticality can pick up and play Sky Noon and understand the basics of pushing enemies off the edge or out of an objective area. It's surprisingly polished for an early access game and we recommend it.
Sky Noon is currently available in early access on Steam.