This charming puzzle game, developed by Puny Astronaut, invites players into the vibrant musical world of Brinn. The premise revolves around Theo, the town’s inventor, who finds himself overwhelmed by the demands of the townspeople and in desperate need of a vacation. Instead of hiring an assistant or simply refusing requests, he takes a unique approach by crafting a dragon statue and leaving a bell before setting off on his holidays. This bell triggers the awakening of Skye, the helpful dragon, who cheerfully undertakes the citizens tasks and requests.
The gameplay unfolds across expansive maps that encourage exploration and curiosity. Whether gliding across ground levels or soaring through sky islands, each stage embodies the lively spirit of a “Where’s Wally” scene come to life. For those unacquainted with the popular search-and-find books, Skye Tales offers a similar experience, with Skye curating a scrapbook of tasks that serves as an interactive to-do list for players. The accompanying festive and whimsical music complements the surroundings perfectly, immersing players in the delightful atmosphere created.
My time with Skye Tales was a pleasantly chilled out experience as I delved into each level, uncovering secret areas and delightful surprises. The level design strikes a harmonious balance, ensuring that no space feels empty, and each new area holds its own adorable discoveries. What particularly stood out was the clever use of the camera to signal puzzle areas, providing a subtle hint that there’s something awaiting your attention. Some puzzles are seamlessly integrated, like the task of finding all the rotating tiki torches on the stage to reveal their open eyes. The inclusion of a detailed map greatly aids in scouring the stage for these inscrutable elements, making sure you’re on the right track.
One of the strongest pulls is its penchant for perfectionism. I found myself engrossed in completing every task, turning the map and scrapbook into my personal treasure troves of achievements. Singing to chickens, playing keepy-ups with a tumbleweed, and directing an animal choir are just a few of the whimsical tasks that kept me busy as I gracefully glided between sky islands. The result was a gratifying experience that sometimes extended a single stage into a multi-hour endeavour. It’s a true test of attention to detail, and while there is an option to focus solely on core tasks, I’d highly recommend embracing the helping spirit for a more rewarding and enjoyable journey.
It ingeniously intertwines exploration and puzzle-solving, rewarding players with gold tokens that can be traded for cutesy cosmetic items, such as hats and costumes for Skye. While these items don’t drastically alter gameplay, they inject a dose of charm. For instance, donning a bull hat transforms Skye’s singing into a hearty moo, and a jellyfish costume adds a crystalline tinkle to Skye’s movements. The world’s inhabitants respond to your actions, creating a heartwarming connection that adds to the game’s cuteness.
Controls are elegantly simple yet effective, revolving around movement, interaction, singing, dashing, and grabbing. These mechanics are introduced gradually and creatively, ensuring that players feel at ease with each aspect as they progress. As the stages advance, the difficulty and complexity gradually escalate, providing a sense of accomplishment as you conquer intricate challenges. While the puzzles never reach overtly challenging levels, cryptic hints are on offer for those needing help.
Beneath its charming exterior, Skye Tales offers an immersive and highly interactive experience with a relaxed pace. While it may appear initially suited for younger audiences, its task-based puzzles and engaging gameplay make it a perfect choice for players of all ages looking to unwind and immerse themselves in a world of whimsy. If you’re seeking a few hours of enchanting escapism from the hustle of everyday life, this is an adventure worth embarking on.
Puny Astronaut’s Skye Tales launches on PS4 and PC on August 17th. Available on Steam and Epic.