Publisher: Grip Digital
Developer: Right Nice Games
Genre: 3D Platformer
Miss the days of the 3D platformers? Spyro, Jak and Daxter, Ratchet and Clank, Banjo and Kajooze, etc were all memorable platforms from the 90's that hold a special place in the older gamers hearts. Enter Skylar and Plux a brand new adventure through a new world that excels at the basics but is more for a new generation of gamers, children.
While it captures the mix of abilities and moves needed in this type of game the dialog and story line is obviously meant for the younger generation. That being said it did have me chuckling at some of the jokes but and me also laughing at the storyline. The Bad guy, CRT, is destroying Clover Island because well because he's the bad guy. There was no sound logic or reason behind this and it makes the story feel incomplete. But how is it as a complete project? Well lucky for you I collected every collectible, got every achievement, and left no stone unturned in Skylar and Plux.
You start off with just a handful of moves as you escape the clutches of CRT thanks to the tech he gave you then find yourself on clover island and partnered up with a bird with certainly more bark then bite. You discover CRT has imprisoned the inhabitants of this world and you must save them while collecting the spheres to fire up the machine in the main hub world. You start off with a spin move, a punch, a double jump, and a dive. The punch and dive are only useful once each as the spin is more effective and has a wider range then both. The punch is useful against the final boss and the only boss in the game, the dive is only useful for an achievement but we will get to those later. It doesn't propel you forward like most punches in 3D platformers and I found it to be completely useless until the final boss. Now as you advance in the game you unlock more tech to help you transverse and fight throughout Clover Island.
A jet pack, a device to slow time, and a magnet like ability will increase your arsenal to make you feel unstoppable. These abilities are what make the game a blast. You can slow down time and watch your enemies attempt to hit you or use the magnet to pick them up and use them to kill others or simply drop them off the map.
Sadly you never fight that robot
Now these graphics are not close to any AAA title but the world flows extremely well. Let me explain, The world feels like you are moving somewhere it doesn't just go from no snow to snow it perfectly flows you into the next area covered in snow they make you feel like your getting closer and closer to your objective as you progress through each level. Now the grapics themselves are bright and colorful and obvious play towards the theme that this game is for kids but it looks amazing.
Skylar looking out on a beautiful landscape
There are three worlds in this game, along with the hub world, now the first level feels like an extension of that hub world but the other two are a completely different location with their own art style. Whether it was the robot base or the relics of some lost civilization the worlds feel unique and maintain that sense of flow.
The sound in this game isn't bad, but it is forgetful, generic, and has little variety. What saved this game was it's commentary and quirky child jokes which I found very funny. For example when you do your first double jump CRT exclaims,"Bob! You didn't tell me she could defy gravity!" Which got a good chuckle out of me or when Plux said CRT stood for Computer Robot Turd. Sadly though at the end of the day this part of the game feels unfinished. There are two cut scenes that are completely black screen with subtitles, a lead up to a miniboss that turns into a cut scene, and the plot holes in those cutscenes is where this game comes up short. So while the game play is fun and the commentary had me laughing, the cut scenes and lack of variety of music stopped it from getting a higher score.
Collecting collectibles isn't the same without the sidekick doing something on screeen
The game gets easier as you continue through the world and once you get that slow time down ability well you won't die. Also the puzzles are extremely simple and the "hardest" one took me about 3 minutes. Th game itself takes about four hours to complete or 5 hours to 100% so there is no challenge for experienced gamers here.
The game has 18 achievements none of which are missable. While most are story based there are some that stand out as unique and fun. These include Hammertime, Pizza, and Say hello to my little friend. The hammertime achievement is just to get hit my a hammer and is easy but the title itself is a cool reference. Pizza has you knock and CRT's door and try to bypass the level posing as a pizza delivery boy err girl? cat? whatever it doesn't work but the commentary is amusing. Say hello to my little friend has you pick up a machine gun enemies and slaughter its brethren as it helplessly watches. Wow, that's way darker now that i think about it....this game is for kids right? Those are just a couple of achievements that stand out and provide a wide variety of easy achievements and as mentioned before with a collectible guide will take you 5 hours to get them all.
While the game is made for children it is still fun to play between the commentary, easy completion, and family friendly environment there is something here for everyone. As the storyline is also made for children is hard for the older generation to take it seriously and will have the achievement hunters rushing through it. Ultimately the game serves as a great family game to experience with the next generation of 3D platforming gamers. The family friendly jokes, the extremely easy level design, and one of the most forgiving difficulties ever won't keep a veteran enthralled, but it may be a fun family friendly experience a child in your life will remember for years to come as we did titles like Spyro and Banjo. The lighthearted world of the Loa might just be one to look into if you have children.