Darkened Skye - Box

Darkened Skye
Ages: Teen
[Ed. note: this is a review of the PC version of the game]

Just in case you got turned off by the box – I've included a screen shot of what the heroine really looks like. She is a cute, feisty, teenager in buskins wielding a staff. If you have ever wished for a female Luke Skywalker – here she is. The story follows the hero's legend. Shorn of parents, she gets a sign, pulls the battle staff from a rock and embarks upon a quest to rid the Troubled Lands of the evil Lord Necroth. There is a ancient wise women and a wisecracking traveling companion. The dialog is exactly what a wise-mouth teenager would come up with – funny and irreverent. There are various monsters to battle and hazards to avoid as she travels through rocky islands, dark swamps, misty valleys, mines, a dragon's village, gargoyles' realms before she comes to the final encounter. With the help of the wise woman, Skye learns to control magic and cast spells. Bit by bit she learns about who she is and what may have happened to her mother. A light romantic interlude adds a little additional encouragement. Easy saves keep you from starting over again. With about twenty-five different moves, the game seems much more suited to a console, and maybe in the future the game will be ported. The graphics are great – sometimes a little too dark but that seems to be the style nowadays. Many lands to travel, spells to cast, puzzles to decipher, amulets and gems to find. Take you time and enjoy it.

Editor Review 9/02

Darkened Skye is a light hearted single player adventure game where you play Skye, a female teenaged Herder, thrust into an adventure against the evil Necroth. Skye's home is under the reign of Necroth, the harsh dictator who bans laughter, bright colors and magic. Skye is sent to collect SKITTLES® and the five lost prisms from the five lands to help bring back the rainbow.

Game Play
Darkened Skye is a 3D game with a 3rd person removed perspective with a view from behind the characters head. As the main character Skye, you run through several land attacking enemies with your staff, spells and items. But you also solve some interesting puzzles as well. Most of the puzzles are about discovering ways to get to things or set triggers; for example, at one point you need to retrieve a key that dangles over water. Unable to swim, Skye casts an ice-like spell that freezes the water so she can get the key. A few of the puzzles are of the traditionally logic type like those found in games like Myst. Although the action is more on the fighting side, there are enough puzzles to keep your mind going.

And yes I did say SKITTLES®, Skye's magical powers come from collecting SKITTLES® that she uses to "build" her spells. She collects new spell formulas through out the game and uses her collected SKITTLES® to build more spells. There are a limited about of certain color SKITTLES® so this limits the amount of spells you can have ready at one time. This concept of building spells makes you decide the best spell to use to exploit your enemy's weakness. But can be a bit of a hassle to keep changing you spell. There are also a few interesting utility spells that help you solve missions like the "Polar Pulse" or ice spell and the "Diminish" or shrinking spell.

The game-play is adequate, but often frustrating. Although the graphic engine is very fast, actual control of Skye was inadequate. Controlling the way Skye's feet land as she jumps is very imprecise and really needs to be tuned. I should say I hate games with tons jumping and in this one there is far too much of that going on, coupled with control issues jumping is just not fun.

Fighting can also be annoying. I'm a decent player, but I was constantly saving the game and dying. Battle often consisted of firing spells, dodging back behind a wall, waiting forever for your power to go up so you could cast another spell. Enemy artificial intelligence was, well…unintelligent. There was one point in the game where I fought a rather dragon that kept throwing super fast ice attacks, all by the way perfectly on target, which killed me repeatedly. So when I got sick of dying, I decided to cheat by standing behind a pillar while it walked mindlessly back and forth never walking around it. When it would turn to walk one direction I would simple fire on it and retreat before it turned around. All AI attacks, especially the tougher bad guys, are unrealistically fast and super accurate, and at times is it seemed almost impossible for me, a mere human, to keep up.

Ease of Use
It took only a few minutes to get started. Although the game doesn't do a great job of in-game explaining how to get started once you learn the basics from the manual you should be quickly playing. All menus for example inventory and magic could be easily assessed through the escape key. Building spells was as simple as clicking and dragging SKITTLES® into the correct spell slots. The only thing I wished for were quick keys for using items like healing potion and spells, instead you need to cycle through item before you can use them.

Bug, can easily break the fun bone. The bugs and lack of game patches to fix bugs hampered my fun. From getting stuck on almost invisible edges, falling through terrain, seeing through walls, bad guys going invincible, "Shadow Vision" or night vision not working, the game felt rushed.

Art, Music and Interface
The art of the game is easily its best feature. The use of bright colors, good quality and textures makes for a visually rich looking game. The models of the characters also look pretty good as well. However, the world design limits the field of vision so I often felt a bit claustrophobic. The music was "ok" but a bit repetitive. I found had to turn it off very early into the game.

Dialog is always important for telling stories in Adventure games. The quality of the acting was "ok" but not great either. The dialog was themed to be light, witty and sarcastic, with many jokes about Adventure games, including the game itself. I found the dialog to be more goofy and corny rather than witty and funny. I'm not sure if it was because of the delivery or the lines themselves. But humor is subjective and you might find them funny.

SKITTLES® is brand of candy that the main theme of the game revolves around. In the game you can and create a rainbow, just like SKITTLES® ' "Taste the Rainbow" commercials ads campaign. I am not a fan of using any product as the MAIN theme in a game that people pay money to play. What really bothers me is nowhere on the box nor website do they mention the SKITTLES® tie in, it's only when you play the game that you find that SKITTLES® is the main theme. Granted Darkened Skye is a very tongue in cheek type game and the makers might have thought it was funny, but in my view it's tasteless. But use your own discretion on this subject.

Women Gamer Factor
· Some decent puzzles.
· Beautiful colors and nice looking worlds.
· Strong female Lead character.

Darkened Skye is a decent adventure game that does have some charms to it; good graphics and female lead. It also has too many flaws and bugs for me to recommend it. But it's an easy game to learn and has some interesting puzzles it might be worth at least renting.

Pros · Puzzles are good.
· Beautiful colors and nice looking worlds.
· Fast graphic engine.
· Strong female lead character.
· Easy to learn.

· Too much jumping.
· Repetitive fighting action.
· Poor AI.
· Corny Dialog.
· SKITTLES® commercial factor.

Reviewed by: Adrienne Canfil ©2003 All rights reserved - 04/03

  • Darkened Skye
  • © Simon & Schuster Interactive $29.99
  • GameCube, Win 98/2000/ME/XP
  • To Order: GC http://www.amazon.com
  • To Order: Win http://www.amazon.com
  • Game Site: http://www.simonsays.com/ssimkt/darkenedskye