Star Sky Review: Lots of Atmosphere With Not Much Substance

Posted by | October 09, 2015 | Reviews | No Comments

There’s a certain magic found in a clear night. The stars glitter above. The moon casts reflective light on the ground. There’s stillness not found during the daylight hours.This is the core of Star Sky, an “interactive experience” on iOS and Android that aims to capture the feeling of going on a quiet night stroll.

It takes place on a 2D plane, with one nameless, faceless character walking a countryside path. There are no ways to fail, no objectives, and no rules. It’s one finger on the screen, two to run.

As you walk, you’ll encounter micro changes in the environment. This is a very short game meant to be replayed often. Different events randomly take place with each new playthrough. These instances include red roses appearing, lights in the sky, rainbows, and tiny fairy-like beings flying by.

And…that’s about it. Star Sky desperately wants to be a contemplative, meditative experience, but there’s nothing to ponder or consider. There’s no story keeping me invested. There’s no characterization to relate to. And there’s nothing particularly noteworthy about the in-game events beyond thinking “hey, that’s sorta pretty, I guess.”

As such, Star Sky is really just a basic “walk here, see things happen” kind of game. Only a handful of things happen as you watch a man walk from one side of the screen to another with no context, no hook, and no intrigue. It has some decent visuals. It combines bold black silhouettes and various shades of blue and grey, but even those begin to feel generic after a while.

The game does have some nice sound design that lends it a fair amount of atmosphere. Soft, calming nature sounds like crickets and a light breeze combined with the gentle swell of strings help amplify Star Sky’s pursuit of magic. But it’s meant to complement an experience whose substance is shallow as a puddle on a driveway. It’s filled with little more than “oh wow” moments that never add up to be anything particularly striking or insightful.

Star Sky has great intentions. It’s quiet and calming, soothing in its atmosphere and construction. But that’s about it. It’s a raw idea comprised of random events, dark colors, and a pretty soundtrack. This is nice, but I honestly think people will get just as much out of it as they would listening to a generic sounds-of-nature CD.

cassidee moser

About Cassidee Moser

Cassidee is a freelancer for multiple outlets on the web, including IGN, GamesRadar, and CG Magazine. When not writing about games, she's usually drawing something or watching adorable corgi videos on YouTube. You can chat with her on Twitter @CassideeMoser