Sky: Children of the Light

I first saw that Sky was released on one of my social media feeds last week and I was pumped to experience what thatgamecompany had been working on for the last several years. At the time I downloaded it, the game must’ve just been released on the Apple App Store since their page only had one review on it. I jumped into it not knowing what to expect, though based on previous thatgamecompany titles, I knew that I was in for a beautiful experience.

What Is It?

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Sky is a social adventure game where you explore areas and find spirits along with other players in an beautifully enchanting world. Cooperation with others is highly encouraged and key for exploring some of these areas. Like in Journey, players remain anonymous and characters are robed, androgynous figures. When accepting a friend request, you may nickname your friend too. These nicknames are not shared with the other player and provide a way for you to keep track of them. I personally like naming my friends after pokémon.

Finding spirits unlocks different emotions and expressions that may be used to communicate with others players. It also helps with unlocking different areas to explore. There are options to chat with another player as well, but this option is restricted to benches and after reaching a certain friendship level with a friend.

Different hairstyles, clothing, and even instruments can be unlocked to make your character more customizable. These options can be purchased with in-game currency, and thus far I have only experienced candles (the common and easiest to gain) and hearts (the social currency given by friends). For the first few hours of playing, I thought the candles you collect were actually “love milkshakes” based on the icon in the upper left hand corner. Whoops. My bad.

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There are also special seasonal candles given to those who complete daily quests, which can be used to purchase rare outfits. Like with many other free-to-play mobile games, real-world money can be used to purchase candles and bundles as well.

Flying in this game is great fun too! Players must collect golden spirit-like figures called ‘winged light’ around the realms to level up how high they can jump, which is crucial to exploring certain areas in the game.

My Experience So Far

My first impression of Sky was “Wow, this game is beautiful!”. The aesthetic and visuals are stunning and I was taking screenshots right off the bat. The camera would always move around the character so that each one I took looked fantastic. I love this. It seems like a lot a people on the SkyGame subreddit like it as well.

The FTUE was pretty straight forward and easy for me to pick up. Since my iPhone SE screen is small,  I found the virtual joystick to be a bit clumsy at first. My thumb blocks a portion of the screen when I control my character, which is annoying. I got use to it pretty quickly though. I’m curious to know what it’s like to play on a larger device since I’m sure it would be much more comfortable. For now, I have to stick with what I got.

I’ve visited six realms so far, including the very first one with the tutorial. However, I have not been able to find all spirits in them quite yet. Each realm has a unique gimmick to it, and my favorite one is the Valley of Triumph because it requires a lot of sand – or is it snow? – surfing down hill. Super fun. The spookiest one is the Golden Wasteland with its giant centipede-like monsters. These monsters will and can hurt you if you get into their spot light. It’s dangerous to go alone here! Make a friend! Hold hands and don’t lose each other! I also heard there is a catapult somewhere in this area.

Holding hands is a new mechanic that I have not experienced in a game before, and I like the way Sky does it. Only one player can lead when holding hands, which I think is determined by who requests to hold hands in the first place. I’m not 100% sure about this and will have to pay more attention the next time I play. If you are following instead of leading, then you do not need to control your character and can watch what your friend does instead. You have to trust that your friend is leading you in the right direction. If you disagree, then simply stop holding hands and go in a different direction.

One thing I should note is that this game drains my battery like crazy and I have to make sure I plug it in while playing. It also makes my device super hot, enough for me to be a bit concerned. I’ll have to keep my play sessions to shorter busts of time.

Otherwise, I am really enjoying this game thus far and look forward to playing more!

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