Skylar and Plux Indie 3D Platformer: First Thoughts
Ahhh... 3D Platformers. Many gamers should remember, with a great deal of nostalgia, the golden age of the genre. So many classics like Banjo - Kazooie, Mario 64 and Conker on N64, Crash and Spyro on PS One , Ratchet and Clank on PS2...
The list is truly infinite. There were so many good platformers on a variety of different consoles back in the day. No one remained empty-handed. Then came the days of the long platformer drought. Many would argue that the last decade has been cruel to the mascot-character 3D platformers.
But fear no more, fellow gamers! It seems that the season of 2016 - 2017 will be an interesting one for our dearly beloved platforming genre, with games like Yooka - Laylee and A Hat in Time in development at the moment and receiving some pretty good reviews already .
However, there seems to be a platformer in dev that hasn't really caused any impact on gamers' buying schedules. This platformer is:
Skylar & Plux is an indie 3D platformer developed by Right Nice Games on the Unreal Engine 4 and published by Grip Digital. And after looking at the first gameplay footage released to YouTube, I have some thoughts on how this game stands as a platformer and what it might bring to such an exciting year for the genre.
Presentation-wise, this game seems like a mixture of Ratchet and Clanck and Jack and Daxter. We have our two main protagonists Skylar (some kind of cat or fox creature) and Plux (an owl with goggles). Their designs seem to have a steampunk feel to them that's not unlike Jack and Daxter's. In fact, they are a little too similar if you ask me.
The scenery in this game looks average. A strange kind of average. An average that shows that there is potential in making something breathtaking for the eye department, but just fails to do so. The way the stages are placed seems promising for platforming goodness, but the plain and uninspired texturing on most of the 'floor tiles' make the whole thing unappealing.
However the most non-redeeming factor about the whole game is the character animations. They seem to be 'wonky' and flat out rushed at times. Imagine the transition from a weird walk cycle animation to a static (animation-wise) kind of battle system. It just ruins it a little bit for me.
For the mechanics department, Skylar and Plux looks like it can deliver. It offers a time manipulation mechanic which can be used for easier platforming, extinguishing enemies and even transforming the landscape! I admit it, I find this REALLY intriguing -- though I will have to express my concerns on the potential repetitiveness of the time manipulation mechanism. I just hope they will get it right and don't make the whole game a drag to complete.
Also, one more thing: I know you can call this a tribute and many other games have done it but there is literally the same ring hanging mechanism from Rayman 2! I just find it a little lazy, personally.
I know it seems like I am being too harsh on the game. And maybe I am. In reality, I am really excited for this game and I want it to succeed. I just think that we, the game community, should always leave feedback for devs especially the indie ones. In that way, we can achieve a good relationship between the two sides and ultimately work towards our first and foremost goal: to play games and have fun. :)