I was one of those who waited for Heaven: Children of Light to release. Now I have decided to see what the game has to offer.
I had known what I could expect, since I had played some other games by thatgamecompany, the studio that brought Sky to life. I expected a polished game that looked good and went beyond difficulty for an exciting experience and some new twists on the gameplay.
I was not disappointed.
I didn't have much time to play Sky that I had wanted, but the complaint to the game is that there is very much a "pick up and play for a while" title. I hope to play more Sky in the near future, although I have some concerns about the lifetime of the games.
A real looker
Sky is probably one of the best games I've seen in a long time. Not "best game on a cell phone" but "best game, period". It's hard to believe that the game is running on iOS.
Thatgamecompany, the studio that created Sky, has long been promised for games that look very beautiful, and it's no different here.
Everything from color to character design, the environment to cut scenes definitely feels like some serious thought and care went into doing it.
In fact, I am extremely impressed with the character design in this game. The player's characters, which can be customized by unlocking elements via "missions" of different types, are impish and lively.
The controls of Sky are … ok. It's not a game that requires a lot of nice engine management in any way – it's pretty forgiving, even if you have as much trouble as I did. I think the game will be better served in iPadOS 13 when players will be able to connect a Bluetooth gamepad, like a PS4 or XBox One controller, to the iPad.
You see, I had originally started playing Sky on an iPhone 8 plus, and I found the controls manageable. However, I wanted to take big, beautiful screenshots of the game, so I switched over to a 12.9-inch iPad Pro. I do not recommend the dual-stick style controls for larger screens. I found the screen too large to easily control the character, and often found myself tumbling and falling or running in walls when trying to fly.
One-button player works better on larger screens, but I still recommend a two-button layout on something that is the size of an iPhone or iPad Mini. Then again, your mileage may vary.
A strange kind of social
Saw the selling argument of Sky is that you will be able to play with other characters, which I find interesting. The game does not allow much communication, so most will be done through emotions or tapping on your character to make them noisy. The noise, by the way, is weak saxophone-Basque – but in a sweet way. Opponents cover a wide range of actions, but those I so often used were high-ranking, holding hands and hugging.
You can communicate via text to characters if you are both sitting on a stone bench together. However, there are not many benches in the world.
Of course, you can invite people you know to play with you, through a kind of strange QR code system that I didn't get the chance to test out.
However, there is something to be said about the lack of verbal or textual communication in the Sky. It adds to the fun, and it certainly complements the theme. It also makes the game all-age friendly, which is good, because Sky is an informal game, after all, and should be enjoyed by all players, regardless of skill.
And IAP …
Sky is not exactly free free. It's free to play. This means that it comes with a kind of system designed to get money out of you. However, in Sky, IAP feels less aggressive than others.
In Sky, you can buy candles if you do not have enough to perform specific tasks, such as adding a stranger to your friends list, upgrading your character and buying the other currency of the game: hearts. However, you can also find these candles in nature. The hearts are the most important currency the players are after, as they allow you to buy cosmetic items, including masks, wings, instruments and more. However, you can get hearts from other players if you are lucky.
Sky is an impossible sweet game that gives equal consideration to both the social aspects of playing a game as well as the importance of exploration. I think if you could talk to two or three other friends to play with you, the experience would be even better. I recommend checking it out even if you only play for a short while.