Skylar & Plux: Adventure on Clover Island is a recently released 3D platformer; exploring players’ nostalgia and paying homage to old school games of the same genre such as Ratchet & Clank or Jak & Daxter. It features a silent protagonist, lynx named Skylar. She is equipped with mechanical arm that players can find upgrades to through their adventure on the Clover Island: a jetpack, a time-slowing orb and a magnetized glove. She is accompanied by a quirky sidekick, chatty bird Plux, and takes on evil robot CRT, who is an intendedly cliché villain with a twist at the end. This is our Skylar & Plux review.
Gameplay & Design
Shortly after starting up the game and finishing out basic controls tutorial, players will find themselves on the vibrant Clover Island. There is a variety of locations, including flying islands and waterfalls, desert with quicksand and a bit of time-shenanigans, snowy mountains as well as a laboratory of the evil robot antagonist. The design of characters and music are very catchy, as well.
The story is very basic and predictable, and is more of a background to gameplay than an actual addition to it. While not terrible, it does not make one very engaged or even remotely interested. The game is filled with clichés, but makes a nice job of mocking them. I also expected to be able to control the Plux at a certain moment (being that his name is part of the title), but alas, it did not happen and the bird remained the chatty sidekick until the end.
Players can expect to find a solid platformer gameplay, focusing on exploration and puzzles with very basic combat thrown in here and there. There are only three types of enemies to take upon: the small “robot-dogs”, turrets and missile-firing enemies. Skylar does not possess a wide-variety of attacks and combos, either, having only 3 attacks, one combo and magnetic glove throw as only ranged weapon. Additionally, at start of the game you only have three “hearts” indicating health. Falling or taking damage from enemies or weather effects take away either bits or an entire “heart” at once. Running out of health will have you start at a closest checkpoint. Picking crystals scattered around the island will fill out existing hearts. Saving certain amount of locals will unlock additional health.
In Skylar & Plux: Adventure on Clover Island you can find everything you can expect from a platformer and more: jumps, swinging on a rope, pushing objects, solving puzzles, collecting crystals and more. Unlocking additional abilities such as magnetic pull and time slow will allow you to get to previously closed off places and make the game easier as you go on. Getting time-orb makes every fight afterward ridiculously easy, as you can slow all enemies around and efficiently deal with them without even being hit. Even the last boss battle is mediocre at best. Altogether, the game is very casual and forgiving, those craving some challenge would have to look elsewhere.
Bugs & Quirks
I have run into some problems with the PC version of the game in Windowed mode. The controls and camera start being stubborn and unresponsive. Sound effects, especially voice acting, would get weird “white noise” and breaking static sounds if you turn camera after the voice line starts. Such problems did not appear in full screen mode, however. Loading saved games would also sometimes mess up the sounds, regardless of window mode you choose.
The controls for keyboard + mouse set up are fine and absolutely playable with, but sadly not customizable. I also could not shake the feeling that the game would feel better with a controller in hand, but sadly did not have an opportunity to check it out.
It would take from two to five hours to finish the game, depending on how fast you go and how many cages you intend to open. It took me about two and half hours to beat the game. I did not rush it and opened every cage I came across, but did not go out of my way to find the more hidden ones for additional health.
Altogether, Skylar & Plux: Adventure on Clover Island is a short, solid and (I’m not afraid of this word) cute game. It is fun while it lasts and will provide players with enjoyable 3D platformer gameplay, nice level design, colorful environment and quirky characters. It is obvious that Right Nice Games really tried to create comfortable little adventure that players will fondly remember. Whether it is worth $15 is up for you to decide.