Breaking lockdown with 'Sky: Children of the Light'
Lockdown - or even self-isolation - can at least be places to enjoy Sky: Children of the Light and get close to transcending this world of virus updates and grim daily statistics. It’s the still-fresh mobile game from 2019 and the same designer who brought us classic indie titles 'Flower' and 'Journey' (2012).
It’s taken a while, but you can see straight away how the game is finally expanding on the whole social/multiplayer aspect of Journey, this time allowing players to enhance their avatar with a wide range of powers, both for world traversal and social interaction.
So yes, this means you can link up and play with other members of your household, or friends online, but it's also great to interact with any stranger in-game. When we say 'interact' we're talking silent forms of communication (such as lighting another player's candle) which can lead to hours of fellow co-operation and shared adventure.
The game is free-to-play, but of course, there is in-game currency for upgrading your avatar with extra graphics and features for interacting with others and the world. This will go towards supporting the game.
Here at Gaming Impact we try to highlight note-worthy games or those which make an impact. There is an immediate sense that 'Sky' will ultimately give players a fulfilling, meditative shared experience, which is what great games do. And yet again, that this experience, for the most part, will arrive intuitively and not with a hefty amount of commitment up-front or grinding type of gameplay, or intrusive tutorials.
What else is up with 'Sky'?
Besides its rich design and meditative soundtrack, it involves exploring ‘seven unique realms... and each one... themed around a different stage of life. In addition to these realms, there is a Home that serves as a hub between the different realms.’ (wikipedia)
Simply mastering the art of flying is a central attraction, but you’ll need to find 'lost stars' in order to level-up your cape, gain more energy and fly farther. When you reach the soulful conclusion, there's always the chance to re-play, since no two adventures will be the same.
It’s nothing too puzzling or complex, and the control system widens in freedom, but one still senses that we'll get a more engrossing feel, or even more compelling experience, when the game arrives on console, PC etc.
A Time for Multiplayer
'Journey' was interesting in that you could end up sharing your adventure through the game with another random player. You could only communicate via musical notes along the way. 'Sky' brings a new shared adventure but with all sorts of features to encourage communication within the game. Although, you can just sit down and text chat on a bench. But you can see that these fresh multiplayer aspects, coupled with grand, interconnected surroundings and fluid avatar controls, will surely add another feather to the cap of ThatGameCompany (and indeed, it's won best iPhone Game of the Year 2019).
However, with multiplayer features playing such a large role in this title, it naturally loses many single-player narrative strengths, simplicity and focus. But, with this already achieved by the company in previous titles, players must accept that the time has come for 'Sky' to bring us these multiplayer aspects, marrying them with gameplay from what has gone before, and push us all upwards, to new spiritual areas of gameplay and social interaction.
And it's come at a good time, where many countries are still restless and house-bound, under ongoing Coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
The game works well on smartphone (considering we’re in open, cloudy territory here) plus it makes the game accessible to a large market, and to non-console players. But for those who’ve experienced former titles by ThatGameCompany in all their glory, you won’t quite escape that feeling, or desire, to see it on a bigger screen. This is all coming later this year, 2020.
For now, dip your wings into 'Sky: Children of the Light', a pleasure to experience for all ages. Also, this well-made, accompanying website has all you need to know.