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Requires a Glulx interpreter. Visit IFWiki for download links.
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Skies Above

by Arthur DiBianca profile


(based on 17 ratings)
3 reviews

About the Story

Play minigames to get your airship flying, tour the skies, and see what mischief is going on up there.

Champion of the Skies:
Sarah Adams

Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Current Version: 1
License: Freeware
Development System: Inform 7
IFID: BBADE574-94CB-4A5C-BE6E-B2D77CD6103B
TUID: rcigp0w0911id6nd


Nominee, Best Puzzles; Nominee, Best Implementation - 2019 XYZZY Awards

10th Place overall; 3rd Place, Miss Congeniality - 25th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2019)

Editorial Reviews

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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Aerial Amusement for kids and grown-ups alike, July 22, 2020
by ChrisM (Cambridge, UK)

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.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
If you want to fly higher you gotta train harder!, November 19, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 2-10 hours

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!

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Very original, November 20, 2019
by Denk
Related reviews: inform

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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Recommended Lists

Skies Above appears in the following Recommended Lists:

Best fantasy games by MathBrush
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The following polls include votes for Skies Above:

For your consideration: XYZZY-eligible Best Overall Puzzles of 2019 by MathBrush
This is for suggesting games released in 2019 which you think might be worth considering for Best Puzzles in the XYZZY awards. This is not a zeroth-round nomination.This is not an official list. The point of poll is partly to suggest...

Solved without Hints by joncgoodwin
I'm very interested in hearing truthful accounts of at least somewhat difficult games (or games that don't solve themselves at least) solved completely without recourse to hints, walkthroughs, etc.

Wide open spaces. by Rovarsson
This can apply to the setting of the games; prairies, deserts, icecaps come to mind. It can also apply to the feel of a game, the impression that the player is free to roam far and wide. Open game-worlds.

See all polls with votes for this game

This is version 16 of this page, edited by Victor Gijsbers on 10 May 2020 at 1:19pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item