App of the Week: NightSky

nightsky

Title: NightSky
Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: 4.99

 

This game is really pretty. It’s also really hard. NightSky begins with the premise of a mysterious glowing orb found on a beach. The nameless narrator’s text tells us that upon bringing it home he or she began to have strange dreams. This, combined with a soundtrack that is quirky bordering on eerie, sets the tone for a strange dream of a game.

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You control the orb and must maneuver through puzzles with a combination of speed and geometry, sometimes with the aid of machines and occasionally with the reversal of gravity. A bit of the game’s overarching design reminds me of an old style console game: it has save slots, and each level has a name. It also gives you the opportunity to go back and do any of the levels again, which old console games never did, but we sometimes wish the had. Instead of learning the particular combination of console buttons necessary to get the results you need to solve the puzzle, all of the orb’s movements are touch-screen tactile. Roll faster for more momentum, hold you finger down to stop, swipe upwards in certain screens to change the gravity and tap on glowing buttons to activate machines.

Moving around is interesting, but it was the beautiful twilight glow that illuminates the backdrop that caught my eye.  Play it on an iPad with retina display or another tablet with a fancy screen,  if you’ve got one. I still find it pretty captivating on my phone.

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The combination between dexterity and puzzle solving skills necessary for success will make this game appeal to those who like both. But a bit of patience is required to get much further than a few levels.

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I picked this up for .99 on its release day. I see the price has gone up since then, but since I still can’t beat level 4, The Old Ruins,  I don’t feel like 4.99 is too much for the amount of gameplay NightSky provides. Teens who lack discretionary funds for their iTunes or Google Play accounts may not want to spend the money, so tell their adults to hold this one in mind to give a s a gift.

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