Setup: iPhone XS Max
Original Release Date: 7/18/2019
So, Sky: Children of the Light just arrived on iOS/iPadOS Beta, and I’ve had a few moments to try it out this morning. This game was announced onstage at the September 2017 Apple Special Event as a title for the just-announced Apple TV 4K. Delays set the project back quite a ways, but now that it’s finally in our hands, what’s the deal with Sky: Children of the Light?
The biggest takeaway that I have had in my limited experience with the game is that it is very, very similar to Thatgamecompany’s other well-known title, Journey. Like, exceedingly similar. Like, the gliding mechanic is basically the same one from Journey, there’s a little hoot you can make your character perform that will call a bunch of “animals of light” around you and lift you up — that’s also from Journey. There are a bunch of pseudo-hieroglyphs littering the landscape that you can see if you light candles next to them, which is a modification on a concept from Journey.
Basically, if folks were looking for them, they could find a whole bunch of similarities to that previous game and, if they were massively uncharitable, might use those similarities to write Sky off entirely. I think that would be a mistake.
I haven’t played enough of the game to draw a conclusion about the quality of the story, but I do get a sense that Sky is trying something different from its predecessor. There are a lot more components that give me the sense that I’m an active participant in this world, as opposed to the often-passive role your character is given in Journey. There’s an entire customization area where you can change your Child’s hairstyle, clothing and expressions. And as far as I’m aware, when an enemy damages you, you won’t lose some of your flying ability, which has a trackable level progression system.
And as you travel through the world, it seems that your primary task is to search for lost spirits to cleanse. Each of these spirits represent all or part of a “constellation;” once you have cleansed the spirit(s) in a given area, rooms in the vicinity that were closed off to you will begin to unlock.
I’m very interested in returning to Sky this weekend, to see what happens in later stages and maybe even beat it. Right now it’s only available on iOS, so if you’re on console or other mobile platforms, you may have to wait.