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About the Story
It's been almost a month since your parents disappeared.
Charming first installment in the Earth and Sky superhero series, involving a brother and sister who discover unusual powers and seek to rescue their lost parents. Though brief, this episode establishes the characters, their powers, and the major motivation, and incorporates a couple of simple puzzles. Upbeat and highly enjoyable.
-- Emily Short
It's obvious that a great deal of care went into making this game intuitively interactive. Several conversation systems are provided, so that the player is free to take whatever approach he likes: this is novel, and possibly overkill, but it expresses a good faith intention to put the control fully into the player's hands. More impressively, perhaps, the game accounts for a wide variety of behavior on the player's part.
-- Emily Short
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Number of Reviews: 7
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Earth and Sky is a popular piece that is probably most notable for two things: introducing the superhero genre to IF, and successfully founding the first serial adventure in the medium. [edit: After writing this, I realized that the Frenetic Five series probably has a better claim to both of these distinctions.]
An IF Comp entry, Earth and Sky takes no chances with the recommended timeline for gameplay; it seems impossible that you might not finish within the allotted two hours. Its relatively linear story -- usually a big turnoff for me -- is compensated for by the fact that this story is fun to read and still somehow offers a sense of freedom. Rather than feeling railroaded by the plot requirements, you feel swept along by the fast-paced events you are involved in; instead of feeling pushed, you are racing to keep up.
Like the early Lone Ranger or Flash Gordon serials, this work is unapologetic in its use of cliche conventions and its cliffhanger ending. It has no need for apology -- indeed, it shows us why those cliches exist in the first place, and the authors have delivered on their promise for more in the game's two award-winning sequels.
Though I haven't felt the urge to replay the game since I first tried it a few years back, this is a fun one that's well-suited to a lunch-hour diversion, or as a friendly introduction to the form for an IF newcomer.
A friendly micro-game, Earth and Sky is a genial teaser for a superhero tale explored in later installments. This game sets modest goals for itself: introduce characters and long-term motives, then provide a short-term conflict to get the juices flowing. It sets merrily about the task, and the whole thing flows so smoothly that I didn't mind at all that much of the game consisted of following instructions given me by NPCs. Tiptoeing around spoilers, I will say I was fascinated to see how ... amiable the game felt despite the grim dangers implied (and depending on your choices, briefly explored) in the narrative. Given the easy temptations of a more fashionably gritty approach to the genre, this game won an extra measure of my respect for balancing perils and pleasures. In tone, it's more akin to The Incredibles than an issue of a modern comic, and I mean that as warm praise.
I went looking for a bit of fun playing with superheroes in IF, and this game both satisfied my craving and fixed my gaze hungrily on the next installment. Earth and Sky is very brief (less than 30 minutes for some players, I'd expect), and, within its chosen scope, very satisfying.
This is a very short but enjoyable game.
The first part is mostly an introduction to the characters. You talk to your brother via a choice-menu, which gives the author the chance to put a lot of the brother-sister dynamics into the conversations. Downside is the almost mechanical ticking off of options.
In this part you can also experiment to your hearts content with the powersuit you found. Very much fun!
The second part switches quite abruptly to a big boss-fight. Use the skills you've learned to subdue the monster.
That's it. Short, easy, fun. That's all you need sometimes.
|Earth and Sky 2: Another Earth, Another Sky, by Paul O'Brian|
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