Darkened Skye
Game Info
Platform(s)
GameCube
Publisher
Simon & Schuster Interactive
Developer
Boston Animation
Genre
Action
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Violence
 
Grade
The Good

• Great sarcastic and witty script
• Customizable controls

The Bad

• Shameless corporate story tie-in with Skittles
• Stale gameplay
• Boring level design

 
Grade
C-

In Darkened Skye, you play as Skye, a young shepherd who finds a "magical" orange Skittle. Yes, I said Skittle. It won't take too long before you realize that Darkened Skye is not much more than a playable commercial. Apparently, the evil Necroth has some serious emotional issues when it comes to rainbows and bright colors. When Skye finds the orange Skittle, Necroth sends out soldiers to get her. It won't take long before Skye is sent on a quest to find other Skittles. As the game gets going, Skye is joined by her demonic sidekick, Draak, who gives her clues and the often-needed sarcastic commentary to keep players trudging through this game.

Darkened Skye's gameplay is the standard fare - you need to travel from location to location, finding people or items that will further the story along. The battle system is real-time hack and slash. Except for hitting the attack button while on the run, there are no combos or even a level of depth to the combat system. Along the way, you'll learn new magics, which are useful to the story and even helpful in breaking up the monotony of combat. Newer spells are accessed when you find certain colored Skittles that the spell needs to be used. While there are some platforming elements to each stage, you'll find most of your time is spent just locating required items.

One of the nicer features is the ability to customize the controller however you like. The default controls have players using the left trigger for attack and right trigger for jump. The Z button casts spells. The X and Y buttons draw out your weapon and use the selected items. The D-pad is used to rotate through spell and item menus in the onscreen HUD.

Visually, the game really isn't all that spectacular and at times inconsistent. Level design, for the most part, is particularly boring. Most of the areas seem to be covered in textures that, while somewhat detailed, fall in the same color range, leaving most of the locations looking similar. On top of that, the game could benefit greatly from a higher polygon count to beef-up the levels and round out a lot of the hard edges. Structurally, the game isn't flawed in any manner, but it's never really impressive. Some of the NPC character models look nice, often a far cry better than the two main characters themselves. Skye and her pet demon both are yawn-inducing in design.

Probably the best part of this game is the audio portion. The music and sound effects are well done, but pale in comparison to the voice acting, which is a far cry better than the average action game. And, having some good voice acting goes along way to delivering the sarcastic and at times, laugh-out-loud funny script, which manages to mock not only this game but every game in the genre. I would have to say that the humor of the story segments may keep you playing this game longer than the gameplay itself will.

Darkened Skye, whether by intention of design or by flaw of the lackluster battle system can provide a lot of dying. And that doesn't even include Skye's inability to tread water. But, instead of reloading at the last save, the game tends to start you out at the beginning of the stage without any of the items you may have collected before. Luckily, you can go into the menu and load your last save, which loads almost instantaneously (which leaves me to wonder why this wasn't default).

Outside of the humorous script, there isn't much here that would warrant much outside of a rental. I wouldn't mind the shameless Skittles tie-in if the game actually presented itself as anything more than the standard cliché-riddled action title it mocks in the story. There are far better games to be played.

- - Vane

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