Game: Skye Tales
Genre: Puzzle, Adventure
System: Nintendo Switch
Developer | Publisher: Puny Astronaut | 4J Studios
Age Rating: US Everyone | EU 3+
Price: US $24.99 | UK £19.99 | EU € 24,99
Release Date: May 26th, 2023
Review code used, with many thanks to Puny Astronaut.
Based in the innovative Water’s Edge workspace in Dundee, Scotland, Puny Astronaut’s first release is the colourful, family-friendly game Skye Tales. Designed to be stress-free and gentle-paced, the developers have worked with the AbleGamers Charity to design an accessible game for all to enjoy.
Will Skye Tales put me on cloud nine? Or send me into the doldrums?
Adventures in Brinn
Skye Tales takes you on a puzzling adventure through four regions in the fantasy world of Brinn. The start of the game is a wonderfully illustrated and narrated poem, during which you learn how Skye, the helpful dragon, comes into being.
By means of a short tutorial, you learn the fundamental controls of singing, dashing and grabbing. These are the key abilities needed for solving the awaiting puzzles.
Once you guide Skye out of her cave, a cut scene takes over to ensure you talk to Moss, who asks for help in preparing the Spring Festival. You receive three tasks to help with, watering the flowers, picking the fruit and finding the fireworks. You are then free to roam; you can complete the tasks if you want or just explore and enjoy the scenery and activities throughout the valley.
There is no time of day or ticking clock, and when the tasks are eventually completed, you find out more about the story (again via an illustrated poem) and can move to the next realm.
It takes time for the game to load between realms, but during this time, you see some of the concept art for that region. This adds a ‘spot the difference’ element to the game, as the cavern entrance in the game is somewhat different to the initial ideas.
There are various types of puzzles across the different regions, with most of the major quests having useful hints. Some puzzles have rotating wheels which will move or open other items. Although the idea is straightforward, I did find it awkward to rotate some of the wheels, both in the number of revolutions needed and getting the right alignment.
One of Skye’s abilities is to sing, and various puzzles need her voice, whether it’s to move a lumlox, gather fruit or uncover hidden items. If it doubt, try a little song!
In some puzzles, it’s necessary to move objects, and although grabbing and transporting is easy, I quite often missed the drop-off point. Luckily, the object reappeared, and I could try again. However, some of the grabbing, pulling and dashing is directional, which makes it a little frustrating when you go in the wrong direction.
Some puzzles are very straightforward; for example, dashing at the bell encourages the coral to grow.
Skye Tales is full of puzzles and activities, not just those needed for the region’s main quests. However, it is sometimes difficult to know if, for example, dashing through the dandelions will complete a challenge, but I haven’t got the angle right, or is it simply for fun.
Explore and Enlighten
Each of the four regions of Brinn has a distinct theme, from valleys to lakes, from beaches to deserts. Each region is accompanied by a beautiful map, which gains colour as you explore the area. The map also shows where the main quest activities are, as well as the location of the main NPCs and Skye.
It’s delightful to find a plethora of achievements for each region. For instance, you can dash through tumbleweed in Whispridge, make a mushroom brew in Avieshire, serve ice cream in Coastin and create bubbles in Raina Falls. And even if the name of the challenge is a little cryptic, there is a useful description underneath. You receive a sticker when the challenge is completed.
Dressing up Skye
Although you can’t change the appearance of Skye, you do have the ability to wear various outfits. Felix, who runs the outfit shop, will sell them to you in the local region’s currency. Although some unlock when completing certain tasks and are then free.
The controls are straightforward, and it’s possible to have helpful control tips on screen throughout the gameplay. There are several buttons which result in the same output, which gives the flexibility of play; however, it’s not possible to redefine the controls.
Skye Tales plays well in both docked and handheld modes, although there is no touchscreen functionality. The font is large enough to easily read on a small screen.
There are several options around audio levels and visual effects, including high contrast and desaturation modes. The Skye Tales website explains these in more detail and encourages gamers to get in touch regarding other barriers to play.
Although the game crashed a couple of times, there was very little loss of gameplay due to the autosave function.
It takes around 2-3 hours to complete the main tasks in the four regions, with a further 4-6 hours to complete all the challenges.
Skye Tales is a beautifully crafted and carefully thought-out game. There is a wide-ranging selection of puzzles with varying degrees of difficulty. There is much to delight the casual gamer!
Final Verdict: I Like it