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(based on 17 ratings)
About the Story
Play minigames to get your airship flying, tour the skies, and see what mischief is going on up there.
Nominee, Best Puzzles; Nominee, Best Implementation - 2019 XYZZY Awards
10th Place overall; 3rd Place, Miss Congeniality - 25th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2019)
An Exercise for the Reader
You can't ever really get stuck in Skies Above
On the surface Skies Above is a different sort of game than the limited-parser puzzlers we've seen from Arthur DiBianca in the previous three IFComps. Yet in some important ways I don't think Skies Above actually is all that different from Arthur's previous work. In fact, both the similarities and the differences between Skies Above and Arthur's last three IFComp games have convinced me that one of Arthur's overarching goals as an IF author is reducing the unfriendliness of the parser.
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The Gaming Philosopher
iBianca has clearly drawn inspiration from Superluminal Vagrant Twin, giving us a world of free movement between lightly implemented locations, limited tasks that can be performed at each of them, and a grind towards a large amount of currency. There are differences with SVT too, the two most important of which are that Skies Above is based around minigames that all involve timing or sequence; and that Skies Above is a time management game, in which you have to figure out what the most economical assignment of tasks in any given day is going to be.
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Number of Reviews: 3
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A clever, absorbing game quite deceptive in its simplicity: the things that you need to do are very straightforward but you'll find yourself hooked for hours trying to reach the next level. The player input is very stripped down: there are few words needed and often the activities can be completed by just entering a single letter or two. The gameplay is progressive, requiring completion of an entertaining variety of mini-games to earn rewards that can be cashed in to elevate you to the next level, where ever more elements are unlocked. It feels as though a lot of thought has been put into making the game as accessible as possible by eliminating the usual barriers that parser-based IF presents to inexperienced players. I playtested this with a 7-year-old and he could pretty much do it on his own, which is more than can be said for almost any other text adventure I've come across - but there is enough here to keep adults pleasantly diverted as well. Recommended.
I beta tested this game, and was delighted to do so.
This is a big game, DiBianca's largest (except perhaps for The Wand). I played it for well over 2 hours (maybe 4 or 5) while beta testing, although I was trying to be exceptionally thorough.
Basically, the game is full of little minigames which give you better and better rewards as you understand them better and as they synergize. Your airship captain gives you goals to hit and you do them. There's an economy that grows in scope over time, and a lot of little lovely surprises.
There are puzzles here, but not in the traditional sense. It's technically possible to win just by doing the simplest of tasks over and over and over. The real joy here is in optimization, similar to Sugarlawn from this year's comp.
Strongly recommended, and lots of fun!
This game is something I have never seen in interactive fiction before. The only game I can think of being slightly similar is "Superluminal Vagrant Twin", in the sense that you need to save up money and that you gain access to new locations as you progress. However, besides money you must gain "floatrons" in Skies Above, which determines how high up in the sky your airship can go. There are several "mini-games" where you can earn money, floatrons or both.
I must say that when I first started playing the game, one of the first "mini-games" seemed a bit repetitive. However, the game quickly opens up with very varied gameplay and you gain routine so that you can quickly finish the repetitive jobs. So even if the game may not impress you to begin with, carry on. This game is really good!
Even though there is a sort of ending, the game can apparently continue forever it seems with a list of achievements and some mysterious objects you can obtain if you keep playing. You can never die and the the game has a limited parser, so guess-the-verb is never an issue.
I played for about 4 hours before I was satisfied, but I could have continued for a long time without seeing everything there is to see. I highly recommend this game.
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