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I don’t get why my slew of reviews this year have been mostly underwhelming or above-average games. Maybe I am just not reviewing or tackling the right games, when I have played some amazing games like Nier Automata, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Dragon Quest Heroes II. Maybe it’s because I was looking forward to certain games, and they ended up being disappointing. I think that is what happened with Skylar & Plux: Adventure on Clover Island. This 3D platformer was developed by Right Nice Games and Grip Digital (for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One), and was a recent release. I saw a lot of positive press about this game, and saw that it had some reviews speaking kindly about it. Unfortunately, this is one of those games that I really don’t get the positive reception for. Let’s dive in.
The story revolves around a humanoid cat named Skylar. She was captured by the game’s main villain, and was given a heavy robotic arm. She, of course, escapes to a planet below, which the big bad antagonist has taken over. Skylar meets up with a small bird named Plux, and the two decide to help the planet and stop the evil force from taking it over. I have way too many comments to talk about the story at this point, so please make sure to read the criticisms side of my review.
Skylar & Plux is a 3D platformer, where you traverse around a small hub world and three large levels. Your main goal is to find three special orbs in a snow/forest, desert/fire, and machine world. In each of the worlds, you will find special items to help you along your way, like a jet pack to reach further off platforms, a magnet to pick up metal balls and enemies, and a time orb that lets you slow down time to get across certain gaps. Each world that you find these special items in will have their own special puzzles and platforming challenges. The only real side goal to the game is to use your special items to help find captured/caged villagers. Outside of that, the game will only take you about two hours to beat. There is unfortunately no real replay value.
Graphically, the game looks nice. It has vibrant colors, it ran smoothly for the most part, and the designs are not terrible. Everything looks like it was made for that world, and nothing looks out of place. The music was probably the best element to the presentation. I loved a lot of the more grand songs used while platforming, and it helped bring me into that game’s world. It felt like I was on a heroic adventure, and I needed to step forth and take down the evil force.
Well, let’s take apart this game, and I’ll explain why I really didn’t like it that much. First off, the biggest issue, and where all other issues stem from, is the fact this game feels incomplete. I don’t mean in a glitch or buggy way, but it feels like they had a base idea, but never expanded on it. It’s way too easy to just breeze through this game, and the only time you get hurt was because the combat in this game is terrible. It feels floaty and unsatisfying. Pretty much, they took the combat engine from the first Jak & Daxter game, and put it into this game, but without sprucing it up. The only time the combat got fun was when I was able to use my magnet ability to use one of the three enemies to hurt the others. The controls are also a bit stiff, which makes some platforming parts feel unsatisfying to traverse, and there are some obvious choices left out, like no ledge grab. There is just not enough here to make for an overall satisfying experience. You basically have three large levels, platforming, only three enemy types, and only one boss. It feels hollow and soulless, as while it might want to be like a PlayStation 2-era platformer, it doesn’t feel like one. Oh, and Plux is the most useless character I have ever seen. He does nothing, and I really do mean nothing. He only spouts obnoxious catch phrases that are trying to make him sound appealing, but it once again feels like they had an idea, but didn’t know how to execute it.
The plot really isn’t there. I couldn’t give a hoot about what was going on, because it was so barebones, like the rest of the game. Twists happen with no reason to be surprised or to spout “what a twist!” It’s so basic with characters that have no real personality to them. Skylar is a silent protagonist, but there is no reason for her to be one. She doesn’t have any chemistry with anyone, and Plux has such a rushed story arc, that it’s unintentionally funny. I honestly 100% did not care about anyone in this game. I didn’t care for the overall story, the characters, the creatures I was saving, and the ending. I felt like I went through a whole lot of nothing.
I feel badly that I didn’t like this game that much. It’s honestly not horrible. It’s not buggy, broken, filled with microtransactions, or feels cynically motivated. It just feels under-developed, with a layout that never truly feels fleshed out or interesting. I honestly can’t recommend picking this game up at the $15 asking price, and would recommend getting it in a sale. Hopefully, my next review will be of something more stellar than the last couple of reviews. Sorry Right Nice Games, maybe Skylar & Plux can be a better experience with a sequel.
This game gets a 5 out of 10