If you haven’t played Sky: Children of the Light, now is the time to do it. That Game Company — the studio behind one of indies’ greatest masterpieces, Journey — just brought its latest game to PlayStation. Initially released on mobile platforms in 2019 and Switch last year, Sky is taking full advantage of Sony’s console to produce absolutely spellbinding vistas.
A shooting star in a storm, I fall onto a snowy island with several doorways. I’m quickly ushered into one that leads to the Isle of Dawn where I learn the plight of my people. Once bringers of light accustomed to returning to the stars at the end of their lives, it seems their souls have become trapped through the seven realms of earth. With my small remaining flame, I set out to free them and set the night sky ablaze.
Everything beams with beauty. The theme of light manifests physically in brilliant ways, like when lost souls highlighted by a dazzling lens flare. The view of the sun’s rays bursting out from behind a billowing tower of clouds is truly something to marvel at. And that’s not to mention the glittering sands, rippling grasslands, and sparkling water. There’s not been a moment in my playthrough so far where I haven’t taken a moment just to take in the spectacular environment.
Luckily, my abilities make that even easier. Throughout my quest, I meet spirits that can offer me a part of my missing powers, chief among these is soaring through the air with my cape. The garment, though originally mundane, transforms into a pair of wings which rely on a kind of stamina pool. Expanding this lets me fly longer distances, and opens up sections of travel that sees me gliding along the cloud tops. Some spirits will also offer up things like new gestures, hairstyles, and skills (like a gravity spell that enables you and anyone around you to float more easily for a while.) However, this is where I first encounter discordant notes in an otherwise delightful symphony.
Cosmetics, power boosting items, and even a game pass can be purchased in the PlayStation Store — and the game is eager to point this out. Though it seems I don’t need to purchase anything to progress in the story, the capitalistic prompts feel so at odds with the game’s unworldly nature. There are also moments where it’s hard to ignore this is a port from a game conceived of as a mobile experience. For example, the moments I can fly through the sky, while beautiful, feel unwieldy. It’s almost better when I don’t attempt to steer at all, which is disappointing for gameplay that could give players a sense of unbridled freedom.
It’s possible that some of the choices that bother me above stem from the game’s multiplayer nature. Like Journey before it, Sky has various systems to encourage players to woke together. I came across a bench that allowed me to chat with others should I wish, and several ways to create a shared space to explore with trusted companions. I didn’t get to dive too deeply into these mechanics, considering I was playing before release, but the ideas seem interesting. Solo players won’t find themselves unexpectedly playing with other people, but those that want multiplayer options have them.
I’m not anywhere near done with my playthrough of Sky: Children of the Light on PlayStation. The cryptic, unraveling narrative, stunning sights, and otherworldly aura have a tight grip on me, even though I have so many things I want to play by the end of the year. I can’t imagine this experience being anywhere near as wondrous on any other console, and can’t wait to see it through to the end.