Game review: Sky Break – good, old-fashioned fun despite lack of bells and whistles
At just HK$100, survival game Sky Break’s uncomplicated yet simple pleasures are a great bargain if you prefer creativity to colossal budgets
Are you sometimes frustrated with how complicated games are becoming? The massive installations, the long loading times, drawn-out conversations with non-playing characters and meaningless tasks? Am I the only one nostalgic for the shooting games of yesteryear, when there was nothing but a deserted landscape, a series of ridiculous weapons and maybe a few random things you had to pick up?
That’s what I was feeling before the arrival of Sky Break, an indie release that’s seemingly modelled on classic survival games. It has its flaws, sure, and they’re apparently going to be fixed with a series of patches, but for what it currently is, the game makes a strong case for creativity over colossal budgets.
Players are thrown into a standard survival setting: a foreign sci-fi world where you are challenged by a series of robots as you fight to protect the future of the human race. That’s about it, but a large part of the game’s charm is its sheer simplicity – and as you craft to repair your ship and explore the harsh environment you may enjoy an almost cathartic experience.
Seeking out the many facets of the inspired world is quite soothing: robots here are based on animals – giraffes, cats, birds – and once defeated, they can be hacked and become part of your entourage. There’s also a series of storms that threaten your existence, and the juxtaposition of massive lightning strikes and thunderstorms alongside the many terrains is wondrously disorienting.
Ammo, health packs, boosts for your robot companions – they’re all found across the map, while island-hopping across the various terrains becomes exciting when you eventually board your repaired ship and jet your way across the planet. It all adds up to someone’s long-gestating gaming obsession, syphoned into a strong, if cheap-looking, backdrop.
Don’t get me wrong: the graphics look flimsy, the crafting sometimes takes ages, the AI can be weird and there are glitches galore – but there’s something inherently appealing about this HK$100 game, a combination of inspired ideas set within a cliched concept and minimalism in an often overcomplicated medium.
If your modern collection is getting a bit complicated and you long for the simple pleasures of another world, Sky Break is an excellent bargain choice.