[Disclosure: A review copy was provided for the contents of this article]
Sword Twin Studios’ SkyKeepers is a nicely-animated 2D action platformer, available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One for $14.99, in which you play as a village chief named Tangi… or more accurately, in which you play as him after a great tragedy happens involving the corruption of a traditional ceremony by way of the dark force known as the Wa’Kine.
Tangi’s grief from this event overwhelms himself, and turns him into stone until his wife is finally able to break him free 1 year later, at which point his village has fallen into disrepair and despair. Tangi must then travel the island to fight the darkness, save his villagers, rebuild his home, and find the strength to move on from his own suffering.
Gameplay is simple in execution, with traversing the environments being easy enough. You have your basic platforming, sometimes incorporating your teleporting ability known as Spirit Walking, and even exploring to find areas that challenge your skills in order to rescue trapped villagers or obtain valuable treasure, all of which can go toward rebuilding your village or buying items and equipment. Combat is also interesting, with a great focus on timing and combos.
From the game’s proper start, you are able to chain your basic and special attacks and Spirit Walk together to get fairly decent combo strings going, as well as incorporate attack dodges and parries to make enemies open to retaliation. It only gets better as you go along, being able to unlock new special attacks allowing for a special moveset customizable to your liking.
While enemy actions are purposefully lagged in order to suit the combat system, all of the player’s actions have a slight noticeable delay to them as well, only made more apparent in the instances of slowdown that may happen due to graphical intensity. The hitbox for your basic attacks is inconsistent with the corresponding animations, being lower than you expect and shifted forward in such a way that you literally can’t attack anything that’s right in Tangi’s face or on top of him if it’s small.
Occasionally, there are even glitches where enemies (and sometimes yourself) can get stuck outside level boundaries thus forcing you to restart the whole thing. The shop and rebuilding menus are also glitched at least on PC, being permanently scrolled down and failing to display the amounts of currency and items that you need.
Even with its issues, SkyKeepers is still a nice little experience. The artstyle is simple yet pleasing to view, the story writing is pretty good with nice characterization, and there’s plenty of challenge provided both in exploration and fighting. At the very least, you should try the game out and see if you like it.