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Skyward

Skyward is an incredibly minimalist  game with stunning complexity that will challenge you to your limits.

From the developer of Knife Hit, Car vs Cops and 2048, Ketchapp delivers the mobile gamer another addictive hit of stunning complexity dressed up in minimalism for iPhone and Android smartphones with Skyward. I’ll be covering this from the Apple side of things but I’m sure it will be the same on Android as well!

Ketchapp is famous for designing highly complex brain teasers heavily cloaked in minimalism which often deceives many a gamer, especially the n00b. I always think it’s going to be easy and straightforward but end up with one hell of a challenge (or alternatively a headache) that can cause some to quickly become unhinged, tear their hair out or hurl their shiny $1000 iPhone X at the wall only to whimper later in utter despair after the anger subsides and reality sets in as the screen was reduced to shards of broken Corning gorilla glass with wisps of toxic greenish smoke slowly bubbling out. So much for gorilla glass being invincible!

Well, in my neighborhood which is the infamous borough known as the Bronx, tough games, brain teasers and anything requiring coordination or complex thought simply has little or no popularity except with the tweaker community and are occasionally seen at late night raves with the smartphone gradually supplanting the glow sticks of yesteryear. Stimulants such as MDMA (Molly) and meth add the edge and reaction time needed to have a chance at winning such games although tooth grinding and the occasional hand twitch eventually takes its toll on even the most seasoned Bronx gamer.

Crack, when used in moderation and a filter, allows the Bronxian mind a good five minutes of concentration to progressively make it up the leaderboard. You see, us Bronx residents are at a disadvantage with these kinds of games as our brains are already shot by malt liquor, dipper abuse and lack of proper nutrition caused by a steady diet of government cheese. Gangsters have been known to use their phones as weapons to beat innocent bystanders to a pulp when they fail at even a game of moderate difficulty.

Now let’s delve into this game of stunning complexity that could cause you to pull out your hair!

You are presented with two dots, one of which is blue and the other being red. The best way to think of them is as if they are your feet. You must tap on your display as the dots are rotating, making sure to tap at precisely the correct time. A tap too soon will cause you to slip and fall to your untimely death whereas waiting too long will cause the rotating dot to vanish and you’ll perish too, so you must be alert and quick on your feet so to speak.

Walking does not only occur on flat, horizontally-oriented surfaces but also vertically and thus is super difficult to negotiate in many cases.

Sometimes the dots move quickly and at other times they slow down quite a bit so you must focus with every ounce of brain power you possess to get through this treacherous maze. It’s very menacing indeed!

Graphics are simple but cute..perhaps slightly childish but make no mistake about it: this is not designed for kids although I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them end up mastering the fine art of walking along these crazy platforms.

Sound effects are basic but adequate and an unexpectedly tranquil song plays continuously. This is definitely a plus and a good thing as it can help offset or dampen the stress that is sure to build up and make you totally frustrated. Perhaps it also helps with concentration somehow too. This is just a very tough game to master.

I’ll never understand leaderboards that show high scores of 10,000 points. Perhaps they used cheat codes or are just very determined to succeed but that would require several hours of nonstop gameplay. I guess I really don’t understand how they manage to do it when I can’t even break a score of 40 lousy points no matter how many times I play.

I do respect Ketchapp for making challenging games. It could be that regular gameplay could sharpen thinking skills or enhance creativity. “Use it or lose it” is the common saying so it’s probably in your best interest to play a wide range of these types of brain teasers.

Facebook and Twitter connectivity are also available so you can like their page or share your high scores with your social media friends.

There are some nag screens with regards to removing the ads. I don’t really like it and it causes the price to pop up along with a prompt to place my finger on my home button’s fingerprint scanner to pay the $1.10. That’s not good because one might accidentally end up having to pay when they didn’t intend to.

I hope Ketchapp will issue an update to put a big X there so the pop up nag screen may be closed but as of now it can’t be closed as I had to wait a while and then click “cancel” to avoid having my credit card charged.

Well, I must say I do like the graphics, sound effects and music. It’s pleasant indeed but the gameplay is tough as nails. Although the display is very responsive (and that’s always good!) it’s just so hard to coordinate the taps to make it through a level. It’s just a very difficult game to master and feels quite stressful. It’s like one eventually feels relieved when the game is over but some may really like this level of complexity. I’m sure the professional gamers will enjoy it.

It has a high rating in the App Store as do nearly all of Ketchapp’s tough games. Many like a challenge, that’s for sure and I can appreciate it but it’s just not for me.

It’s just intensely frustrating and because of that and the nag screens I must rate it 6/10.
I hope Ketchapp will offer more options to reduce the difficulty such as a novice mode for instance. It’s just an idea.

Feel free to beat yourself up or perhaps sharpen your mind and install Skyward today.

– Indie Game Critic writer/reviewer from Bronx, NY.

– Indie Game Critic writer/reviewer from Bronx, NY.

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