REVIEW: Forward to the Sky

Nov
29

REVIEW: Forward to the Sky

Despite being marketed as an action RPG, combat isn’t what I remember the most from playing the game.

Released: Steam
Type: Single-player
Genre: ARPG, Platformer, Puzzle
Developer: Animu Game
Publisher: Animu Game
Release date: 30 Jan, 2015

Intro

Initially, I thought that this is a short action RPG game where you have to clear some dungeons to finish. I thought the only downside to the game would be its short playtime, but I was completely wrong. In fact, it’s more heavily focused on puzzles and precision platformers. While I’m still a fan of those genres, some things don’t sit right when I played Forward to the Sky. More on the review.

Graphics

The main menu is the first thing that ruins my expectation when I played this game. It looks like a cheap unity game where the dev tries to slap some images with no word to it. Not only did it look terrible, but it is also confusing. It took me some time to figure out how to start the game.

Main menu screen. Can you find the start game button?

Luckily, the in-game graphics are the same as the screenshots on the store page. The main character has a cute, anime-looking style with a simple, yet great-looking environment in it. It looks cheap while beautiful at the same time.

Story

The story was told in two parts. There is a huge chunk of text that acts as a summary to the game at the beginning and end of each level and some dialogues that happen as you play the game. It seems that the dev is bad at making an attractive main menu because the summary has the same style as the main menu; it also looks like one of those cheap games.

While the in-game dialogue looks great with the beautiful dialogue text and voice dub in every dialogue, it becomes annoying as time passes because the character doesn’t know when to stop. She always talks, even if there are monsters that I had to beat. If you ask me whether I had to listen to the useless dialogue or focus on killing the monsters, there’s no way I wouldn’t choose the latter one.

The Game

Combat

To be honest, the combat feels more like hack and slash rather than action RPG. You can use left or right mouse click to attack, space to dash, and shift to dodge backward. Although the game seems to differentiate between left and right mouse click attacks, the difference isn’t noticeable to me as I just needed to mash my mouse clicks to defeat the enemies. Dashing forward and rolling backward are also useless that I never paid attention to them.

Although enemies are very easy on the first level, more variations and stronger enemies will be available on the next few levels. You still need to spam mouse click to defeat them, although you might want to prioritize the stronger enemies first. Since the dodge backward mechanic is counterintuitive and there’s no other way to dodge enemies’ attack, you’re bound to take damage in each fight. Luckily, I finished all levels on my first try despite me always almost running out of health. I’m sure wouldn’t enjoy the game this much if I had to die and restart the game again from the beginning.

You just need to button mash to kill the enemies.

There is a boss fight at the last level where you must figure out the boss’ attack patterns to defeat. While I find this to be the most satisfying combat the game has to offer, it took me a while to realize that my attack is effective towards the boss. The boss doesn’t move at all when I was attacking that I thought that I wasn’t dealing damage.

Puzzles

The game relies heavily on puzzles in two of the levels. While the first one is quite obvious, it took me a while to understand how the second one works. There is no tutorial or whatsoever that can help you to figure out the confusing mechanic either. However, it becomes one of my most favorite levels after I learned it due to its difficulty.

Platformer

You’ll need to jump through platforms, sometimes within a time limit, to reach the other side of the road. However, I found it hard to control where to land whenever I’m taking a long leap to finish the run more efficiently; I ended up ditching the idea and had to be very careful to make sure that I landed correctly whenever I jump. Luckily, the game doesn’t give any penalties if you fail the jump; you will respawn close to where you fall so you won’t waste time walking to the same spot again.

There is still one more problem though. One of the levels requires you to dodge a laser while moving. However, the laser seems to have a larger hitbox than it seems, making it hard to figure where to actually move. There is even an occasion where you must move close to moving lasers that it seems to be impossible to get through without getting hit.

Difficulty and Length

The game has 6 levels in total. Each level has unique mechanics although your objective is still the same: to reach the goal. There is also an additional objective where you need to collect 100 crystals, which can be found by clearing everything in the dungeon, to unlock the full story. Doing so is tricky though as some crystals are well hidden, giving more challenge to the game.

Some crystals are hidden in statues, which sometimes are hidden in tricky locations.

The game is not hard to beat although I admit that I was always close to death whenever I finished the levels. Each level can be finished in less than 30 minutes and I finished the game at 2.3h after replaying the first level once because I didn’t collect enough crystals to unlock the story. The game seems to only provide a save for level completion that you must restart the level again from the beginning if you want to collect the missing crystals.

Problems

I just find it odd that the game decides to let my character move whenever I was pushing boxes. I needed to reposition my character several times because of this.

Specs

Intel Core i5-9300H 2.40GHz, 8GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650

Verdict

Despite it being marketed as an action RPG, there aren’t many enemies to beat, and combat isn’t what I remember doing the most in the game. The only combat that is memorable is the final boss level which also has its issues. In fact, the difficult puzzle level still remains in my mind due to how enjoyable it is. However, with so many lackluster mechanics that the game has, I don’t think I can recommend this game, especially since there are better games out there with longer playtime and cheaper price.

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