Review: 'Sky - Children of the Light' has arrived on the iPhone and iPad
The much anticipated Sky: Children of the Light has finally made it to the iPhone and iPad. Here's our look into the whimsical, beautiful, and playful puzzle-adventure game.
I was one of the people who was waiting for Sky: Children of the Light to release. Now that it has, I've decided to take a look into what the game has to offer.
I had sort of known what to expect, as I'd played some other games by thatgamecompany, the studio who brought Sky to life. I was expecting a polished game that looked good and bypassed difficulty for an immersive experience and some new twists on gameplay.
I was not disappointed.
I didn't have as much time to play Sky as I had wanted, but the appeal of the game is that it's very much a "pick up and play for a while" title. I hope to play more Sky in the near future, though I do have some concern about the longevity of the game.
A real looker
Sky is probably one of the best looking games I've seen in a long time. Not "best looking game on a cell phone" but "best looking game, period." It's hard to believe that the game is running on iOS.
Thatgamecompany, the studio that made Sky, has long been lauded for games that look genuinely beautiful, and that's no different here.
Everything from the colors to the character design, the environment to the cut scenes definitely feels as though some serious thought and care went into making it.
In fact, I am extremely impressed with the character design in this game. The player characters, which can be customized by unlocking items via "quests" of sorts, are impish and lively. The non-player characters are full of character and move with emotion and purpose.
The controls for Sky are... okay. It's not a game that requires a lot of fine motor control by any means— it's pretty forgiving, even if you're having as much difficulty as I did. I do think that the game will be better served in iPadOS 13, when players will be able to pair a Bluetooth gamepad, like a PS4 or XBox One controller, with their 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 an 12.9-inch iPad Pro. I do not recommend the dual-stick style controls for larger screens. I found the screen much too large to easily control the character, and often found myself tumbling and falling or running into walls when I'd try to fly.
The one-button play works better on larger screens, but I still recommend a two-button layout on something the size of an iPhone or iPad Mini. Then again, your mileage may vary.
A strange sort of social
So, the selling point of Sky is that you'll be able to play with other characters, which I find interesting. The game doesn't allow for a lot of communication, so most of it will be done through emotes, or tapping on your character to make them make a noise. The noise, by the way, is vaguely saxophone honk-like— but in a cute way. The emotes cover a wide range of actions, but the ones I saw being used most often were high-fiving, holding hands, and hugging.
You can communicate via text to characters if you both sit on a stone bench together. However, there aren't a lot of benches in-world.
Of course, you can invite people you know to play with you, through a sort of weird QR-code system that I didn't get a chance to test out.
However, there's something to be said for the lack of verbal — or textual — communication in Sky. It adds to the fun, and it certainly compliments the theme. It also makes the game all-ages friendly, which is great, because Sky is a casual game, after all, and should be enjoyed by all players, regardless of skill.
Without spoiling anything, Sky is a game that requires players to solve puzzles, but in a "almost like Spyro" sort of way. A lot of it involves exploration, some of it involves teamwork, and most of it involves being able to accurately respond to the environment the game is putting you in. Find a candle? Light it. Find a locked door? Figure out how to unlock it. Do these things, and you'll be rewarded with character upgrades, in-game currency, and cosmetics.
Again, this isn't a hard game, and it's not going to let you fail miserably. Sky isn't that kind of a game.
On the issue of longevity
If you're looking to play Sky, I highly suggest hopping into it now. Sky comes equipped with a fair amount of puzzles that must be completed with multiple players, so I'm a little concerned that the total lifespan of the game may be a bit short. It's a beautiful game, and it's free, so if you've been holding out I absolutely recommend that you grab a couple of friends and hop in now.
Sky isn't exactly free free. It's free-to-play. This means it comes with some sort of system that is designed to extract money out of you. However, in Sky, the IAP feels less aggressive than others.
In Sky, you can purchase candle charges in the event that you don't have enough to perform certain tasks — like adding a stranger to your friends list, upgrade your character, and purchase the game's second currency: hearts. However, you can also find these candles in the wild. The hearts are the main currency that players are after, as they allow you to purchase cosmetic items, including masks, wings, instruments, and more. However, you can get hearts from other players, if you're lucky.
Sky is an impossibly cute game that gives equal consideration to both the social aspects of playing a game as well as the importance of exploration. I think that, if you were able to wrangle in two or three additional friends to play with you, the experience would be even better. I recommend checking it out, even if just to play for a short amount of time.