Wide Sky (UPDATED: Ver. 1.3) Review
- Beautiful, minimalistic interface design; clean animations and intuitive menu elements.
- Fun theme backed up with clever writing.
- Smooth flowing movement; easy to keep track of what you're doing and where you're going.
- Game concept quickly spirals in to monotony as your only motivation to keep playing is unlocking new ropes that may feel different, but don't really add depth to the core gameplay.
After a recent update, Wide Sky has turned from a beautiful failure in to an elegant, albeit shallow free-flowing, hedgehog-slinging experience.
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Review Update (21 Feb, 2013): Let it not be said that Marcus Eckert isn't listening to his audience. A recent update has overhauled Wide Sky with a seemingly minor, but drastically helpful quality-of-life update to the interface that proves to be the difference between sheer frustration and casual, mindless fun. An indicator on your hedgehog lets you keep track of where the rope will appear, and once latched on to a cloud you'll also receive a handy arrow pointing you in the direction of your rotation. These elements alone make movement throughout the gamespace far smoother and almost intuitive, allowing you to pull off the game's many acheivements without pulling out your hair. There's still more visual appeal than actual substance to the gameplay, but at least you won't be fighting the controls at the same time.
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.
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.
DescriptionFor a marine mammal, the hedgehog spends a disconcerting amount of time on land. What do they want, what are they up to?
Hedgehogs are troubled spirits, and yet, they never fail to entertain the masses with their acrobatic feats. Many people don't know, however, that hedgehogs aren't born this way. Hedgehogs need to be trained and molded into the tiny, fiscally responsible acrobats we know and love.
That's where you come in.
Train your hedgehog in more than 40 challenges and keep his cunning mind from veering. We will give you a sensible amount of ropes (11) and 6 special powers, like the ability to deploy a parachute, control the wind or summon a vortex. Your challenges will change with the nature of those powers.
So, crash those orbs as fast as you can, collect those stars and keep track of your performance with built-in stats. We will even let you tweak the rope physics, because we're not just accomplished scientists, we're also human.
You might encounter detailed animation along the way. But don't fall for it. It's designed to fool you into empathy.