A few years ago (in the UK at least) an advert was run for Skittles where a young maiden escaped from an evil witch and rode to a stone circle. When she placed her hands in the imprints in the altar a rainbow appeared and the sweets started to rain down. It seems that sparked someone’s imagination and the basic storyline of the advert has been turned into a game, Darkened Skye.
An evil sorcerer, Lord Necroth, has stolen the rainbow and all the magical Skittles which he plans to use for evil. He has banned all magic and bright colours thrusting the people into a dark age. You play a young shepherdess who never really knew her father and her mother left for a voyage two years ago but has never returned.
One lazy summer day while you ponder the meaning of life, the amulet your mother gave you, the universe and exactly how you fit into it, a Dwentil (the thing you’re shepherding) decides to make a break for freedom. After chasing the beats you come across an orange object, with a white ‘S’ written on it. Not realising what the object is you pick it up. One special effect later – you’ve got a magical staff, a gargoyle (called Draak) as a travelling companion and you’ve sumber 9 oj NecrotdbDr ak- s c vrh’s hit list. Cue, adventure!
One of the first things you’ll realise when you’ve read the manual is that the game is based around Skittles, the sweets. However the brand isn’t shoved down your throat (literally) every five minutes. It’s as if the game was going to be released with some generic name for the special object, like magi-sphere, and someone decided to change it to Skittles.
The game claims to have a good script with a number of comedy moments and it doesn’t disappoint. The story progresses throughout the game thanks to regular interaction of non-player characters, your travelling companion and numerous notices in towns/villages. Nearly every conversation or plot element has a good joke or witty line attached to it. For example when you try to enter a pitch black cave without a light the heroine says “Yeah, think I’ll wonder into that pitch black cave alone. I want to show up in the credits as third dead teenager!”
The script is written in the style of a spoof, along the same lines as movies such as Space Balls, Airplane, Top Secret! etc. You can feel the inspiration has been taken from many sources such as The Hobbit/ Lord of The Rings, the legends of King Arthur and Star Wars. For example you get to meet Merlin early on in the game who explains about the rainbow, Lord Necroth, the amulet, the five prisms that can make a new rainbow and your destiny. Your mother was trying to unite the 5 prisms to create a new rainbow, your father worked for the cause also but he’s now… Dead? Yes, er, dead…
The game plays much like Tomb Raider, the camera is fixed slightly above and behind your character. You run around the five worlds, jumping over stones, talking with people, fighting monsters, solving puzzles and trying not to fall in water (hey she’s a warrior-hero-adventure-goddess that just can’t swim OK?). Puzzles can range from finding the correct button/sequence of buttons to push, getting a secret password or using an item – basic puzzle based stuff. Having said that towards
the end of the game the puzzles start to get harder so this is isn’t aimed at a really young audience.There are two attack methods, using a spell or the good old fashioned hitting something with a big stick. To cast a spell you need a number of Skittles of the correct colour and enough magic quotient. Skittles can be moved between spells at any time, giving you the ability to customise your repertoire of spells for a given situation. This makes it important to find as many Skittles as you can. As you’d expect, your character has an amount of health and when it’s gone you’re dead. Both health and magic quotient slowly renew themselves over time but you’d have to go and make a cup of tea to come back to a
fully restored health bar.The game is not without it’s little glitches and oddities. The most noticeable to date is sometimes it’s quite easy to accidentally skip a cut scene (any key will skip). You also see enemies at quite a distance away but they can’t see you so don’t attack. This means you can still hurt them with a spell and avoid any damage. This particular glitch is quite useful at times!
Skye keeps a journal throughout the game split into three categories: quests, quotes and notes. It’s quite important to refer to these – especially the notes key points will be noted down slightly different to the dialogue with it’s own run of jokes. If you’re stuck with a puzzle sometimes a prod in the right direction can be found in the journal.
The game graphics will blow you away with the opening video – it’s on par with the best computer animated movie Hollywood can produce, while the in-game graphics are on par with the majority of games available today. Textures are clean, the characters are fluidly animated, landscapes are varied from a fertile grassy countryside to dark foreboding caves and water worlds. To put it simply, the game looks good.
The voice acting is very good – the main character is voiced by Linda Larkin who voiced Princess Jasmine in Disney’s Aladdin movies so we’re talking A grade acting here. Complementing her is Robb Pruitt as Draak. Someone I’ve not heard of but who seems to have done promos for a number of American TV shows, radio stations and has also had some small parts in TV shows such as Spin City and Law and Order.
The game makes use of a number of stock sound effects, but applies them well. For example, you get the echo of your footsteps when you’re running through a cave, running over wood (e.g. bridges) sounds as you expect. When your staff makes contact with a nice soft part of an enemy you’re rewarded with a good solid thump. Background music reflects the area you’re currently running around it, for example Lynlora (the grassy countryside) has an upbeat medieval soundtrack other darker areas have a more foreboding background track.
If you’re one of those people who just loves spoof movies, enjoys watching Loony Tunes and likes to exercise their brain with puzzles you’ll love this game. The script is witty, has good jokes and great timing. Without the script the game would just be another Tomb Raider wannabe, the script makes this game stand out from the crowd. If this doesn’t sound like the kind of thing that would make you laugh out loud then I’d pass it by, otherwise at £20 the game is worth the cash. Let me leave you with a little advice:
Draak: “Ah, come on we can’t do this puzzle till later”
Skye: “How do you know?”
Draak: “I read the script, I mean I had a sacred vision!”