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Skylar & Plux: Adventure On Clover Island

Posted by GG Goblin On June - 6 - 2017

A cat-thing and a bird-like creature join forces to save Clover Island from a computer monitor.

 
So, the 3D platformer is making a comeback, casting older players back a couple of console generations and introducing younger players to the joy of jumping, punching and collecting. Well, something like that. Anyway, the latest member of the 3D platformer revival is Skylar & Plux: Adventure on Clover Island from Right Nice Games and Grip Digital. Let’s go and save the island.

 
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Play begins with the titular hero Skylar, who happens to be an anthropomorphic cat, waking up on a space station with no memories. To make matters even more alarming, She also happens to have some kind of robotic arm. Skylar doesn’t talk through the game, but I would imagine my response to waking up with a robot arm would be one of confusion. Still, there is no time for that, as an evil computer monitor known as CRT reveals itself as the bad guy for the game, and then Skylar makes haste to escape from the space station.

 
Crash landing on Clover Island, Skylar quickly meets up with Plux, a bird that quickly makes up for the fact that Skylar doesn’t talk by going on and on. Plux is a one bird pun machine, dropping one-liners like they are going out of fashion, and they don’t always hit the mark. Later in the game, the banter between Plux and CRT feels more humorous, but early on the writing can feel a little exasperating.

 
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Anyhow, Skylar and Plux team up to not only recover Skylar’s memories and defeat the evil CRT, but also to rescue the natives of Clover Island, who are hidden in cages around the different areas of the island. The story in Skylar & Plux does not give much away, it is very light. Plux seems a little pointless in that he doesn’t really have any purpose in the game other than to provide puns, and Skylar’s lack of voice makes it quite difficult to engage. Thankfully, stories and relatable characters have never really been a strong point in 3D platformers, it all comes down to the gameplay.

 
Surely the most important aspect of a 3D platformer is how well the actual platforming works. In Skylar & Plux, it all works very well. Jumping from one platform to another, to reach the different areas of the open levels, is quite straight forward, but feels satisfying and fun. Each of the levels are quite big and, although there is a linear route through them, offer different paths to explore. The platforming is reasonably forgiving, although there are a few times when camera issues can cause Skylar to plummet to her doom through no fault of the player.

 
There are crystals littering the landscape that will need to be collected. These crystals are needed to refill Skylar’s health and also to unlock the cages holding the natives as the player finds them. Finding these caged creatures is perhaps the most difficult part of the game, they can be quite well hidden.

 
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Combat in the game is again simple but solid. Skylar has a couple of different basic attacks that can be used against the enemies. Of the enemies themselves, there are only a few different types that the player will face. Each of them use a different tactic, so the player will quickly come to recognise how to approach each encounter.

 
As the player progresses, Skylar unlocks some new skills that will allow them to solve the various simple puzzles that appear in the game. They start out with a grappling hook to cross large gaps, and then will also unlock a jetpack and even magnetic and time manipulation skills. The use of these skills in the puzzles are fairly self explanatory and the puzzles will not tax most players.

 
Which does raise the question of what audience Skylar & Plux is aimed at. The game itself is very short, running at only a few hours, and it is also quite easy. The bright, colourful environments and well animated characters give the game a cartoon feel, and when added to the games’ length and ease, does suggest that younger gamers are the target here. It is quite satisfying to play, but is not very memorable.

 
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As an introduction to the 3D platforming genre for younger gamers, Skylar & Plux: Adventure on Clover Island really does hit the spot. For the more veteran gamers that are looking for a nostalgic return to the likes of Ratchet & Clank and other genre leaders, Skylar & Plux really does come up short. Skylar & Plux is a solid platformer that has a few issues that prevent it from being truly great.

 

 ★★★★★½☆☆☆☆ 



 

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