Character platformers have been making a comeback this year. Skylar and Plux certainly feels like it fits the group nicely but it probably isn’t going to set your world on fire and fill you with a need for more. Even still, if you like this genre then you’ll probably enjoy this one too.
Developer: Right Nice Games and Grip Digital
Publisher: Grip Digital
Release Date: May 19th, 2017
Platforms: PC (Windows), Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Platform Reviewed on: PlayStation 4 Pro
I’ve said it before, but it seems like 2017 is the start of something of a resurgence in character platformers. While Yooka Laylee is making good on a modern Banjo Kazooie, Skylar and Plux feels like a bite-sized take on something in the vein of the original Jak and Daxter.
You Play as Skylar, a silent protagonist in the form of an anthropomorphic cat with a powerful robotic arm. Skylar is joined by Plux, a native of Clover Island but relatively useless bird companion. The evil CRT and his robot minion Bob, round out the major players in Skylar and Plux’s story. The narrative is easy enough to wrap your head around. Bad guy in the form of an old CRT monitor wants to take over Clover Island, it’s up to you to save the denizens of said island, and stop him. Along the way, you’ll collect orange crystals you can spend to free the trapped villagers hidden across the game world.
Skylar and Plux plays like the ol’ 3D platformers you remember. Skylar can double jump, punch enemies and even has a Crash Bandicoot styled spin attack. Combat isn’t much of a challenge, but the lack of enemy types makes it exceptionally dull. We have a whopping three enemy types to deal with. Basic robots that look like mini CRTs, bots that fire rockets, and a third machine gun wielding robot.
Skylar checks all the boxes for the strong silent protagonist of this lost genre of gaming but her companion Plux feels utterly useless. Narratively he’s your guide across Clover Island, but he doesn’t make for a great quip delivering sidekick. In fact, most of the dialogue is dished out from villains CRT and Bob who are in constant contact with our heroes. Don’t get your hopes up though, CRT may be talking a whole lot, but it’s mostly groan-worthy lines from this loud-mouthed big bad.
To break up the platforming sections, puzzles built around upgrades to Skylar’s robot arm make occasional appearances. While these small sections do a solid job of breaking up the monotony of it all, they’re far from challenging, making it abundantly clear that Skylar and Plux is aimed to a younger audience.
Skylar and Plux is an easy game, though I wouldn’t call that a weakness. The simplicity of this adventure makes for a relaxing game and a fun glance at the formulas of platformers of the past. Where this game comes up especially short, is its length. It would seem Clover Island is pretty small; I beat the entire game in one four hour sitting. Clover Island is split into only three small sections, a snowy mountain, a desert canyon, and CRT’s base of operations inside a volcano. Once completed you can freely go back and try to rescue all of the Islanders but even the potential of another hour or two feels a little light.
On the technical end, Skylar and Plux is mostly fine. However, I noticed some significant frame drops when jumping in quick succession or using Skylar’s grappling ability. I was playing the PS4 version on a PS4 Pro.
Skylar and Plux isn’t going to set the world on fire, but it makes for an interesting and cheap way to kill an afternoon. It also can serve as a great way to introduce younger children to the beloved genre of 3D platforming on a modern console. You can pick up Skylar and Plux: Adventure on Clover Island now for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
- Pleasant cartoony look
- Familiar feeling 3D platformer
- Tight easy to pick up controls
- Very easy
- WAY too short
- Poor writing