PN Review: Star Sky
Take a walk through a starlit field. Uncover secrets of the world around you.
Star Sky is a recent release on the Wii U eShop, but it’s not a game. Don’t just take my word for it either, notice what the developer says. “It’s not a game in the traditional sense, but rather an interactive experience.” If that cryptic description intrigues you enough to want to learn more, please keep reading.
Curiously, Star Sky lists under Action, Adventure on its Nintendo game page. I can assure you there’s certainly no action unless you consider walking, or possibly jogging, as such. Even calling it an adventure stretches things, although it’ll definitely appeal more towards fans of that genre. I think of this title like a Choose Your Own Adventure book. Not in terms of story mind you (there’s really none) but as for decisions. By selecting what to interact with, and when, you dictate future “events”. There’s 18 of these secrets in total, and it’s impossible to see each event in a single playthrough. Replay hinges on the desire to unlock them all.
These interactive spots are picked up on, not through visual cues, but music. As a rule, the audio is limited to environmental sound effects. Reach an event spot though and music chimes in. It proves considerably pleasant. Coupled with good use of sound effects, the overall sound design for Star Sky turns out to be rather appealing.
Appeal extends to the visual presentation as well. The silhouette technique (growing in popularity) is used against a likable backdrop. The colorful sky with its bright moon offers an inviting contrast to the dark foreground. Fireflies buzz about the hills and varied vegetation, with events triggering variations. They may create an environmental effect like the onset of rain, or open a new path above, or below the main one. Star Sky looks especially crisp and vibrant in high-def, yet it’s also mirrored for the convenience of full Off-TV play with the GamePad.
Speaking of the GamePad, it’s the sole means for control. Movement is limited to travel from left to right – you cannot turn around. Walking is done through hitting the A or B button rather than using the Circle Pad – there’s no means to map the control. It’s curious (as is the lack of alternate controller support) but given the absence of complexity it’s ultimately a minor point.
My first run through Star Sky took less than 15 minutes. Replaying with my wife, we saw every event (and the admittedly weak ending) in just under an hour. We rather enjoyed it all the same, and will surely replay it down the line. This title has launched at $4.00. It’s inexpensive, however considering the brevity and niche appeal, may still be slightly much. I do wish something extra was added for this Wii U version though. My suggestion – Miiverse stamps! I think having one for each event would be such a positive, enriching the atmosphere.
Star Sky isn’t the easiest title to explain, and I don’t want to spoil anything either. But hopefully from reading this review (and viewing footage) you can tell if it’s the sort of title you’d enjoy experiencing now, or waiting on a future discount. It’s certainly interesting, and we’ve a measure of fondness for what it achieves with atmosphere and sparking imagination. I’d enjoy seeing this foundation deepened into a full-fledged puzzle platformer in the future.