Game Reviews

Captain Skyro

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| Captain Skyro
Captain Skyro
| Captain Skyro

Smartphones have changed the way we think about platform gaming. Whereas before we ran from left to right, leaping from outcrop to rickety ledge with the tap of a button, now the constraints on interaction and direction are completely different.

We're swiping our characters around, tilting our phones to change our angle of attack, and shifting from the horizontal to the vertical with alarming speed.

With Captain Skyro, Team Pok Pok has tried to make the most of this new-found freedom, tailoring the game to fit onto a touchscreen and serving up neat, trim slices of leaping action.

Unfortunately, a bruising difficulty curve means it doesn't quite succeed.

Cloud hopping

The game tells the tale of the titular captain, a sky pirate who has his cloud-faring ship stolen from him by brigands. It's your job to use Skyro's hook to lead him back up to his rightful place on the bridge of his vessel.

You move by catapulting him from cloud to cloud. To choose the strength and direction of your shots you drag the captain one way or another, then let go and hope he grabs on to one of the hook-holds that every cloud has attached to it.

Precisions and spatial awareness are essential, as missing by the tiniest margin will send you crashing back down to the last checkpoint and divest you of one of the three lives you're given to complete each bite-sized level with.

Silver lining

The way Captain Skyro doles out its second chances is certainly interesting. After three failed attempts, no matter how close you've gotten to latching onto the cloudy pirate flag that'll move you onwards, you're dropped back down to the start of the level.

It gets a little infuriating at times - especially when the margins for error are so small and there are so many obstacles being hurled at you. There are clouds that disappear, clouds the fire bolts of lightning, and clouds that are made entirely of spiky death.

There are various animals to contend with, too, and extra obstacles are added with nearly every passing level. In spite of its cutesy cartoon looks, Captain Skyro is brutishly difficult, requiring almost unnatural levels of timing and accuracy.

A pirate's life

As well as the far from simple task of survival, each of the 40 different levels contains tasks to complete and treasure to collect, leaving you with plenty of content to play with once you've made your way back to your ship.

It's hard to tell whether Captain Skyro is intentionally cruel or whether some poor design choices and a lack of nous have created the jagged line of difficulty spikes that make up its spine. It's still fun, but it never feels smooth - more a war of attrition than a cartoony romp.

If you can get past the toughness, which is a task in and of itself, then you'll find a reasonably clever platformer with an interesting catapulting mechanic at its core.

Captain Skyro

While it's definitely flawed, Captain Skyro is still an interesting take on the platform genre, albeit one that'll have you tearing your hair out before its done