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Wide Sky Review

By Andrew Nesvadba, on January 31, 2013


Wide Sky
Download on the AppStore
Rating

PROS

  • Beautiful, minimalistic interface design; clean animations and intuitive menu elements.
  • Fun theme backed up with clever writing.

CONS

  • Controls stripped back too far - players must either rely on blind luck or insane amounts of practice to work against basic instincts such as tilting to rotate in the opposite direction.

VERDICT

Wide Sky isn't without the ability to be redeemed, but in its current state the game comes off as mundane at best, and frustratingly counter-intuitive at worst.


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There are times when you want to love something so badly that you'll spend hours on end hoping to find the one thing you can grip on to so you can share it with everyone else, but in the case of Wide Sky by Marcus Eckert, I've come up empty. Despite featuring some of the most amazing graphical, and dare I say it, even audio design the platform has to offer, this tongue-in-cheek title feels as though the gameplay itself wasn't tested thoroughly enough, and what should be a casual joy becomes a nightmare of confused controls.

I'm even in love with the concept - you play the role of a hedgehog scientist who must train his hedgehog to swing through the clouds and smash up to seven targets. The introduction does a brilliant job of setting the otherwise silly tone of the game, though thanks to the brilliantly designed interface, the player could almost jump right in without any other help required.

Almost.

See, where Wide Sky falls down (and falls down hard) is on the very basic mechanics it hopes to use to get players flinging and swinging around like a miniature spike-covered ninja. Tapping the right side of the screen will push out a rope that will cling to the first cloud it hits - if you have a special ability equipped, tapping the left side will activate it. Once attached you can tilt your iDevice to swing the hedgehog around the cloud, letting go of the screen to take advantage of the momentum you've gained.

Only, none of it feels fluid as you always have to second-guess your actions. The player is unable to directly influence the direction the rope is dispensed in - it always comes out at the same point on the hedgehog, meaning any form of rotation will cause the rope to spiral out. Also, tilting influences the rotation of the hedgehog on the bottom of its arc - that is to say tilting left will always result in a clockwise rotation, and right is counter-clockwise; confusing to say the least if you've attached to a cloud on the top of your arc.

If you can get beyond such mind-boggling controls, there's a great game to behold. New ropes unlock as you complete challenges for the ropes you currently have and once again, the beautiful presentation shouldn't be under-stated either.

Screenshots

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