Skylar & Plux: Adventure on Clover Island is a fun little 3D platformer that’s clearly been inspired by some of the classics of the previous two generations of consoles. It’s available for Xbox One, PS4 and PC – we tested the Xbox One version.
If this were the shortest review ever, we’d call Skylar & Plux “Ratchet and Clank lite” and be done with it. The game’s developers have obviously taken more than a few cues from the PS2 and PS3 adventures of Sony’s illustrious duo, but are taking an indie approach to their homage instead of going for the AAA treatment like Sony did with their recent reboot of the series.
You assume the role of Skylar Lynxe, who perhaps unsurprisingly has distinctly feline features. Joining her on her quest is her sidekick Plux Owlsley, and if you can follow the name scheme they picked for Skylar then you’ll have a pretty good idea what Plux looks like. Together, they face off against CRT – a villain named after a term those of us old enough to remember monitors before they were flat will recognize.
The environments in Skylar & Plux look great – a bit like your average HD remake of a classic from an older generation of consoles. The game immediately evokes that “ah, a classic platformer” feeling, and manages to back that up with solid gameplay as well. The platforming feels smooth and fun, and over the course of your adventure you uncover various new skills that help mix things up – swinging across crevices using a grappling hook, flying up with a jetpack – that kind of stuff.
Besides platforming, combat also plays a big part in going up against CRT’s forces. Besides a spinning attack and a standard attack (doubling as a pound attack when airborne), you’ll also unlock interesting weapons that spice up the combat a little. My favorite here is the ability to control the enemy’s weapons and projectiles, which you can grab in mid-air and then launch back at them.
The game’s core dynamics work great and it’s a fun adventure to play through, but I still called it a “lite” version of the games it was inspired by. My main reasons for this are the game’s length and its production values. Clocking in at just over two hours on my first playthrough, this definitely isn’t the longest game out there. It also falls a little short of the mark when it comes to things like character development and writing – where Ratchet & Clank (or Jak & Daxter, if you will) had a lot of witty banter between them, Skylar and Plux never really show much of their personalities or much interaction.
Luckily, Skylar & Plux’s price point is also “lite”, making it easier to justify a purchase for a game that’s inspired by a few classic platformers but is unable to rise to their height. There’s no doubt in my mind that the Ratchet & Clank games are superior in quality, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying Skylar & Plux while it lasted. The actual gameplay works very well, and that’s the most important part of any game.