I keep saying 2017 is the year the 3D platformer genre is making a comeback with games such as Yooka-Laylee, Snake Pass, Crash Trilogy Remastered and more. Around a year ago another 3D platformer caught my eye as it reminded me a lot of a Ratchet & Clank or a Jak & Daxter game when I saw it. That game is Skylar and Plux: Adventure on Clover Island that has been brought to us by Grip Digital and Right Nice Games. The developer was clearly inspired by classic 3D platformers while creating Skylar and Plux but while it’s a fun game it doesn’t quite do enough to reach the same heights as those that came before it.
You play as Skylar, a human like cat who wakes up on a space station with no memory as to who she is. She finds she does have a robotic arm however that talks and guides her. This space station is run by the evil villain of this story who is a robot named CRT. After a brief tutorial section aboard the station you escape and crash land on Clover Island on the planet below. Skylar is found by an owl named Plux who has been waiting on this island for his father to come back for him. After a brief section you make it to the main village Hub and find the Lo’a village elder captured by CRT and his robots who are trying to take over the island. When you free her she asks Skylar and Plux to travel across the island and free the rest of the Lo’a while also hunting down three fuses to repair a machine.
Now I want to talk about the story and characters a bit here and why both kind of disappointed me. For one Skylar is completely mute so she never talks and the game never really tells you why she can’t talk. Because Skylar doesn’t talk there is really no communication between her and Plux and thus I never really felt any kind of bond between them like you would see in some of the games this was inspired by. The characters are fully voiced though and for the most part the voice acting is decent. There is quite a bit of humor here as well with CRT frequently popping in and Plux bickering back and forth with him. It might not be funny to everyone but I didn’t mind it. There are some audio issues however as the audio in the intro of the game seemed to be much higher than the audio when I landed on the island causing me to have to crank my volume up a ton. I also had a weird issue where as soon as I landed on the island Plux started talking like someone hit the fast forward button which was kind of irritating. It only lasted for that short moment he was talking but that needs to be fixed.
When it comes to the gameplay though Skylar and Plux feels pretty good. You’ll travel to Clover Mountain, a Desert, and a factory run by CRT and all of the environments are vibrant and look great especially the desert section. You’ll do your usual running and jumping that you would expect with other gameplay elements sprinkled in here and there such as hooks that you can swing from and mushrooms you can bounce on. In each area you’ll find a new gadget to use as well including a jetpack, and orb to slow down time and a magnet that can be used to suck enemies in. The jetpack overall was probably the least useful to me but I loved the ability to slow down time and knock out a ton of enemies while doing it. Speaking of enemies there isn’t a big variety of them here with a small robot that lunges at you, a rocket sentry and a gatling gun sentry. There is also only one boss fight in the entire game and that is against CRT at the end of the game. You can attack enemies by punching them, using a spin attack, jumping in the air and doing a ground dive or by using your magnet power to use the enemies against the others. Personally sucking in one of the turret bots and using it to mow down tons of the other smaller robots was pretty fun.
Also scattered across each area are orange crystals that work as a currency of sorts. If you take damage you can refill your hearts by picking these up and they are also used to free the Lo’a. It takes 100 orange crystals to free a Lo’a from their cage and there are a total of 51 Lo’a to free in the game. Another reason to free the Lo’a is because if you free a certain amount the village elder will reward you with an additional heart so that you can take more damage before dying.
With only three real areas to explore in the game you’ll end up finishing it pretty fast. My final time clocked in around three and a half hours and that is with me taking the extra time to get all of the trophies. I also encountered some bad technical issues in the factory level of the game where the framerate slowed way down when a lot of enemies were on screen. There were other times too where the game would stutter and freeze when I was just running into a cave to free a Lo’a. Another big issue with the game I have is Plux in general just seemed like a pretty useless character. You never get to play as him and the only thing he does the entire game is talk. It would have been nice if some different kind of gameplay was introduced where you got to do something with him.
So while Skylar and Plux: Adventure on Clover Island didn’t turn out to be a great game liked I had hoped it is a good first try by Right Nice Games and something they could build on in the future. If you’re in the mood for a solid 3D plaformer it’s worth checking out. Just don’t expect it to surprise you with originality or last you very long.
*Review code provided by the publisher. Reviewed on a PlayStation 4 Pro.