Geplaatst: 21 december
This simple, minimalist platform puzzler is jam-packed with exquisitely designed puzzles and has you controlling a small, black ball across a silhouetted landscape. Its ambient and subtle atmosphere, along with its lack of time-pressure, makes it almost zen-like and is one of the most relaxing and absorbing titles money can buy; a testament to the fact that top-of-the-range graphics and frenetic gameplay alone doesn't define top-of-the-range gameplay.--MENUS, PROPGRESS & STATS--
Nicalis sticks to the less-is-more style, greeting the player with a straightforward start-menu that simply lists the names of the areas in the game. Next to the name is a symbol showing an area is complete, is started but not finished, or padlocked to show it's locked. A player can either continue from where they left off or, by scrolling through screenshots, have another go in a previously completed area. The settings-menu is done outside the game in a Windows-98 style box with a miniscule amount of options. Navigation is quick, sharp and instantly intuitive. There are no stats or time-attack options.--GAMEPLAY--
Most of your focus will be on a small black ball which you manipulate with left and right arrow-keys. You may also speed it up, put the brakes on or invert its gravitational pull by using the A or S key. Its simplicity is its strength - no fancy combinations or overly-complicated moves are required. All the while you guide the ball to the exit on the right hand side to move onto the next. The only other keys in use are the "Enter" button and the up and down arrow keys to activate or scroll through switches or to release various items in the world. For an added twist, the ball is sometimes embedded inside certain airborne or vehicular contraptions.
Puzzles are varied and inventive with no time-pressure hanging over you. This makes for a relaxing and calm experience rather than a frenetic and crazy one. That's not to say there is an entire absence of frustration and bafflement; some screens can initially be perplexing but overall the difficulty is spot-on and perfectly pitched putting you in that sweet-spot of puzzle gaming. I never felt the need to resort to a YouTube walkthrough yet was stretched and challenged enough. The game is saved at regular 2-4 screen intervals so if you mess up you just press "Space" and have another crack. Restarting is instant and you never feel resentful that you have to do large chunks over again.-SOUND & GRAPHICS--
The ambience of Nightsky
instills a zen-like calm to the user. It's not out to hit you over the head with over-the-top graphics and the soundtrack consists of a lone acoustic guitar with a hint of other gentle sounds and soft notes. Graphics, likewise, are minimal with the landscape rendered in black to give that silhouetted look while a variety of colours reminiscent of delicate sunsets and sunrises adorn the background. The ball hits surfaces with a satisfying "chink" suggesting it's made of marble or is metallic. You play the game in a large central tile framed with a large black border makng the playing area rather small - one of the few negatives of this game.--CONCLUSION--
You get a genuine buzz when completing many areas in Nightsky
and it is crammed with charm and class. Each area takes around 20-30 minutes to complete which means you're looking at about 5 hours all-told. Some have complained that this is too short but I'd never mark a game down for being "too short" unless the game is clearly a rip-off. "Too-short" is better than "too long" anyway.
Finally, the restricted size of the screen along with no option to change the resolution or to re-configure the keys (not that you'd really want to) are some of the very few negatives. You are also taken out of the game when clicking "Settings" and taken to a small window in the desktop which can spoil immersion slightly but the game as a whole is exquisite, making these minor gripes almost negligible. This one comes highly recommended.