UPDATE: My original review for Luna Sky was posted, then removed, I spoke with developer Vovoid, and they were unhappy with the state of their game and due to time constraints pushed it out and wanted a chance to fix the glaring issues. These guys obviously love their game, and wanted to improve their experience best that they could. In the time since release Luna Sky has received 3 patches, and will probably receive more. This did influence the score, in the end, I had to ask myself what does Luna Sky bring to the table that’s new and distinct? How much value and entertainment does it hold for casual gamers or platformer fans? I updated some of my critiques to reflect some changed impressions of this game in bold font below.
If you are going to write a book, you should be a book reader. If you’re going to be an athlete you should train your body, and if you’re going to make games you should play them, lots of them. Luna Sky has the outer semblance of a game that began with clear direction. Once that outer framework begins to shape, the game’s still not done. There are more elements that make a game really gel. I’m sure we are all aware that some of the best games take years and years to develop. Luna Sky seems like a good concept for a game, but unrefined, thus leaving lots of unrealized potential on the table. Even though since release Luna Sky has been patched, making the game more playable, it still requires additional elements that can challenge gamers with a sense of danger and urgency. Or aim far lower to appeal more perhaps to casual gamers.
Taking inspiration from platformers like Sonic, Luna Sky attempts to be a platformer that’s about high speed centrifugal force based thrilling race to the end of the level. It begins with an odd story about a woman with oversized feet, microscopic knees, and McDonald’s Fry Guy hairdo landing on this strange planet and walking up a purple mountain. For some unknown reason, the girl cramps up from massive diarrhea or other abdominal complication- I’m not too sure. Folds up into the fetal position and falls off the mountain, into purple waters. When the cutscene resumes she is remarkably speaking to an artificial intelligence in a pristine obsidian and crystal palace. “The crystal must survive” the machine drones on, the crystal is apparently important, and the crystal is implanted in our heroine’s throat Little Mermaid style, but why we should care is poorly defined.
Before I realized what was happening the game began, with Luna obscured inside some tunnel. You run, you collect white sparkly things that go into your neck. Once you collect nearly every piece of space phlegm the crystal is “saturated” and you can go into some 60’s Star Trek type of chamber, where laser beams scan your neck and you go to the next area. If you’re lucky you just keep playing the boring platformer, if you are unlucky you’ll hear the machine and Luna’s banter on the stupid crystal. Luna’s voice acting is pretty dry, almost as dry as the machine speaking to her, and the bland courses you run through.
The art design appears nice at times while playing. The game is capable of whizzing around at break neck speeds fluidly. If only Luna Sky was fine tuned considerably, it could easily sustain an entertaining platformer. The music was another nice aspect of the game, it blends well with the style of game presented. As much as I had hoped for something fascinate me or drive me forward towards the next challenge, there just nothing. There are no enemies, no time limits, no challenges, just straight up frustration in saturating your crystal with white space phlegm. You’ll gain 0.1 microns to your jump height, 0.1 newtons towards your mass, but nothing really changes the game’s one dimensional dynamic.
As far as control and movement, there are plenty of frustrations, jump and expect a normal jump and you’ll be surprised. Jumps are erratic and inconsistent, until I realized that you specifically have to pul your analog stick up to jump up not straight to the right. This type of platformer control doesn’t feel natural and fluid. Luna at times rolls into a ball, and I was expecting to simply gain speed and maneuver quickly around some of the curved platforms. That dynamic just isn’t very smooth easy to control. All to often you will fight for minutes just trying to accomplish a task that should be second nature for a platformer. This has been fixed considerably in its patches, making motion much better. I am actually impressed developer Vovoid fixed so many control issues, and Luna feels fluid and dynamic rolling through corridors and spiraling around loops using centrifugal motions to propel you around Sonic style.
Unlike my first playthrough, Luna Sky was now a bit more compelling thanks to several improvements in jumping and motion mechanics. Once I made it past the initial levels, you are greeted with a much more open experience. Where you dictate Luna’s progression by saturating her crystal, in the Crystalline Expanse there are multiple stations to stop in and checkpoints to hit. Each time hit these milestones you will be granted higher jumping power, or faster running speed, adding a nudge of excitement when you roll through and skip across 4-5 platforms at break neck speeds and precisely land on a small tiny platform floating in the air.
There are other things that are still quirky post patches, I will sometimes load into one scene, and then load into another when I select continue. The story itself is still erratic and unclear. While the controls have been worked over and improved, I had to ask myself what does Luna Sky bring to the table that Sonic the Hedgehog and half a dozen other clones haven’t been doing since 1991? Besides the crisp textures, new age lighting, and bright particle effects, what makes Luna Sky worth someone’s gaming money? Sadly, there isn’t a satisfactory answer to those questions.
As Luna Sky continues to be revamped, I am sure it will pop up again from time to time on sale, or in bundles with other games of similar ilk. As it stands Luna Sky is a below average platformer that will appeal to immense platformer fans looking for another spin. One of the elements I discovered was being able to crash into the blue boxes to reveal an aesthetic addition to Luna’s costume. While adding nothing to gameplay, Luna’s appearance becomes fancier with long pronounced lighted tails, and unique “armor” elements bloom against the dark landscapes. That nice idea is doused with water as you soon start going through the trouble of unlocking those boxes only to find them empty. There are still rough edges here, some that hopefully will be ironed further, others that could still use total and complete reworking- particularly the story elements.