The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn’t necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable “best" thing. Instead, it’s more just us picking out the single game out of the week’s releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one.
These picks might be controversial, and that’s OK. If you disagree with what we’ve chosen, let’s try to use the comments of these articles to have conversations about what game is your game of the week and why.
Without further ado…
Sky: Children of the Light
Typically our Game of the Week picks skew towards my own personal tastes. I’ve been writing this column for years now, so that’s not surprising. And generally I’ll pick a game that I personally enjoyed the most out of all the ones released in the past week. But sometimes I’ll pick a game simply because it does something especially unique, and is unlike anything else on mobile. In those cases the game doesn’t necessarily have to be something I think is particularly great, or one that I even enjoyed. Sometimes I just like to acknowledge a unique aspect and give a hearty “Bravo!" to a game that tries something different. This week, thatgamecompany’s Sky: Children of the Light (Free) fits squarely in the middle of both of those pick styles.
What I mean by that is that Sky most definitely feels unique from anything else out there, and I feel confident recommending it just based on that uniqueness. But at the same time, I’m enjoying the heck out of my time in the game so far. Or, is game the right word? I don’t even really know how to classify Sky. I mean, yeah it’s a game, but it’s also sort of an experience. And perhaps an experiment. I’m not 100% sure what the end goal is in Sky, or if there even is one.
Basically you start out exploring a huge open land. Very simple tutorial tasks teach you how to move the camera, move your character, and eventually fly. Other elements in the environment can be interacted with via contextual buttons that pop up, and occasionally some light text boxes will explain something to you. Other than that though, Sky does a really good job at indicating what you should be doing and where you should be going without dialogue at all. It just sort of urges you to go in certain directions, and the world is so mysterious and interesting that you feel compelled to go off in those directions and explore.
Eventually things open up even more and you start to see other people that look like shadow versions of yourself roaming around the world. Again through simply implying it, you find that you can connect with these other players and perform cooperative tasks to solve puzzles and advance the game. There’s no usernames and there’s no text chat. These people are just other people like you that are playing the game and figuring things out as they go, and it’s sort of magical how you’re able to work together with total strangers to accomplish shared goals.
In fact, magical is the best word to describe Sky. The visuals are gorgeous, and the soundtrack is absolutely epic. Do yourself a favor and strap on some headphones for this one. It takes a little bit to sort of get your bearings, but once you reach the hub area of the world the game’s structure becomes a little more clear, and at that point you just want to press on and progress as much as possible. And the flying… You can’t have a game called Sky without spending a lot of time IN the sky, and flying around gives me the same sort of butterflies that I got when I first took to the sky in Mario 64 more than twenty years ago. Again, it’s magical.
I don’t know how to describe Sky and I don’t know if everyone who tries it will enjoy it. It’s a very different kind of game, and I feel like I’ve only just scratched the surface. But if you enjoyed this developer’s previous game Journey, I have a feeling you’ll be in awe that you have a similarly beautiful and epic adventure in the palm of your hands. Its mysteriousness is its allure, and whether it ends up being your cup of tea or not I feel very strongly that absolutely everybody should at least give Sky a download and try it for themselves as there’s nothing quite like this anywhere else on mobile.