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Review: Legend of the Skyfish

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The switch waker

For 30 years now, The Legend of Zelda has served as the preeminent franchise in video gaming. It’s been the bell cow for other creators as the industry has grown and today serves as the inspiration to any number of indie developers who grew up rescuing the princess as the little elf boy in green.

Of course anyone can be inspired by a game. Successfully transforming that inspiration into something worthwhile takes skill, determination, and dedication; three things that are missing from Legend of the Skyfish.

Legend of the Skyfish (PC, Mac [reviewed], iOS) 
Developer: Mgaia Studio 
Publisher: Crescent Moon Games 
Released: February 24, 2017 (Steam), August 18, 2016 (iOS) 
MSRP: $7.99

Legend of the Skyfish is what happens when you look at the hookshot from The Legend of Zelda and think, “Hey, let’s make a game around that.” You play as Little Red Hook who must work with the Moonwhale to save her brother from the titular Skyfish. What little lore there is is actually a bit interesting and I would have liked to have seen it explored more thoroughly, but after the opening cutscene, it’s cast aside for the puzzle exploration.

Filling the role of the hookshot here is Red’s fishing pole. Cast the line to latch onto blocks you can pull, distant ledges and rafts you can pull yourself to, or enemies you can reel in close before finishing them off with a few smacks of your pole. Combat here is elementary, and while there are different attacks to watch out for, every enemy in the game with exception of the bosses can be defeated simply by reeling them in and whacking them a few times with your rod.

The Zelda-inspired elements go well beyond the hookshot. The game overall looks like a beautiful set of islands that were cut out of a 2D Zelda adventure and many of the enemies I encountered took inspiration from the baddies of Hyrule. I encountered variations of Zols, Gels, Traps, Octoroks, and Moblins throughout and engaged in a simplistic version of Dead Man’s Volley with statues in later parts of the campaign.

Enemies are only a minor hindrance to your progression through each level. Your real challenge is the various barriers you must deactivate by stepping on a switch or two. That is the bread and butter of Skyfish: using your fishing pole to guide Red to the necessary switch or switches needed to proceed. Sometimes a switch will activate a race against the clock to reach the barrier in time, but for the most part, once you step on one you’re free to proceed at a leisurely pace.

With 45 levels, it took me about three hours to see the story through to its conclusion, though I did have to take a break for a day or two while the game was patched. That time may seem short, but it actually felt too long. The main gimmick was well worn by the time I reached the first boss, and the two subsequent worlds failed to introduce any substantial mechanics to differentiate these new challenges from those prior. I also didn’t need to attempt any level more than once. Puzzle solutions are effortless and the game is so generous with heart refills that I never had to worry about dying even after I was hit by a spike or three. Every level also ends the exact same way, with you smashing a totem pole, adding to the sense of sameness I felt throughout.

Legend of the Skyfish is an inoffensive, cute, and simple puzzle game. Perhaps too simple as it honestly feels like this shouldn’t be on Steam but on one of the Leapfrog gaming devices. I can appreciate any developer that finds inspiration in The Legend of Zelda, but inspiration can only take you so far. You need a little perspiration too, and I just didn’t see enough sweat in this game.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]

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reviewed by CJ Andriessen

 

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CJ Andriessen
CJ AndriessenFeatures Editor   gamer profile

Just what the internet needs: yet another white guy writing about video games. more + disclosures


 


 



Filed under... #adventure #Indie #Mac #PC #reviews #Steam

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