Developer: Marcus Eckert
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Game Controls Rating: ★★½☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Wide Sky initially intrigued me for three reasons. One, the game has an incredibly stylish look and feel to it. I like games that stand out. Two, it has grapping hooks and swinging. I love games with grappling hooks and swinging. Three, the main character is a hedgehog. While my relationship with the Sonic series is very much love-hate there, a hedgehog protagonist speaks to me. So, I took up Wide Sky hoping to love it. Sadly, the game is just incredibly awkward, something that doesn’t quite feel like it’s getting figured out yet.

The awkwardness spurs from the tutorial section, where the writing seems dismissive of itself and its hedgehog hero from the start. I enjoy snark in doses, but this just felt off-putting. Like, why is the game trying to make me feel disaffected by what I’m doing right from its genesis? Then, once the actual game picks up, Wide Sky’s controls prove to be a hindrance. After launching the hedgehog in midair, players then have to tap on the right side of the screen to fire a rope. The problem is that where the rope is going to come from is hard to predict. It seems to be perpendicular to the hedgehog, but remembering the direction is very difficult. It’s not like Super Knights (formerly known as Knights of the Round Cable) where it comes out of a consistent direction that makes the game work so intuitively. It feels like the amount of practice to master the rope firing is going to take a lot longer than I feel like spending. I’d rather go play something else.

The physics of having to tilt to spin around and build up velocity don’t help either. This is particularly because it feels like I have to tilt my device as far in a direction as possible in order to build up some momentum, particularly when the game rewards players for hitting targets at fast speeds. Perhaps this is meant to feel challenging, but it sure doesn’t feel ‘fun’. Super Knights is a game that I didn’t immediately consider while playing, but when looking back at it, I feel like it is the counter-argument to this game: the physics need to be easy in order for the game to be fun.

Wide Sky is still beautiful to look at and to hear even through it all, but playing it is something that flustered me, like I didn’t want to keep at it for very long before playing something more intuitive. This game is more obfuscating than it is complex, and while its disparate elements made me want to like it, playing it did a lot to dissuade me in an immediate fashion. The developer’s website promises that “Improvements are in the works. An update is coming.” There’s enough intriguing remnants here that this news has persuaded me to keep this from being deleted from my phone.

Posted in: Games, iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews

Tagged with: , , , , ,