Hazel Sky is a charming puzzle game that has you on a journey to becoming a mechanic. Set on an unknown island, you'll have to repair planes to get to the next chapter, and there are many hurdles in your way to succeeding, for better or for worse. While the game lacks the execution and budget most 3D puzzlers need to succeed, Hazel Sky is a good effort from six developers in Brazil.
Hazel Sky Has Gorgeous Scenery
What will take you aback when you first boot up Hazel Sky is the graphics. It has a cute cartoon-like art style that is brimming with color and some genuinely stunning scenes. While some textures, like the grass, are a bit rough around the edges, the environments are highly detailed and pull you into the game's island location.
The sunlight brimming from above creates some lovely shadows around the area and the twinkling of the sun rays shines through the camera. It's also neat when the game gets hit by rain or water as the in-game camera sheds in teardrops across the screen. The models are a little ugly with some awkward facial animations, but other than that, it's a surprisingly good-looking game from six independent developers.
Decent Puzzles Throughout Hazel Sky
Hazel Sky, despite a short playthrough at five or so hours, has some entertaining puzzles throughout. From figuring out how to move bison from the train tracks to blowing up an abandoned plane on a pathway, the developer Coffee Addict Studio succeeds at making interesting scenarios for the player to suss out. Hazel Sky strikes the right balance between easy and difficult as you try to acquire vital items to build each airplane. I did have to ask for help on one occasion, however, so your enjoyment of the puzzles may vary.
There is no combat in Hazel Sky, and to be honest, it's a breath of fresh air. It is relaxing to go through the game as you explore these mysterious islands, explore various areas like a cave and an underwater section, and experience the story. The music did a great job of keeping that somewhat peaceful vibe as well, similar to how The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild places music in every once in a while. It lets you breathe, and it's cool how little the game explains to you. Just go around and naturally find out the solution.
Despite quite a lot of positives, Hazel Sky does suffer from a lack of polish in some areas. Jumping can be awkward, especially with a mouse and keyboard set up, and holding a button to keep hanging on a rope or a piece of rock feels unnatural to what most would expect. After you figure out that you need to hold the button while climbing a structure, it does start to click around two hours in. One other minor critique is that the main character Shane runs too slowly, creating agonizingly long segments of gameplay at a few points of Hazel Sky.
Honestly, Hazel Sky Has a Messy Storyline
Let me explain my style of playing a game to you. I skim through the notes of any collectible found in the world for brief world-building, but I won't spend time reading five pages of text. I found Hazel Sky's story may rely on you to read as much text as possible to understand the entire conflict. In the main cutscenes, radio show chatter, and voiceovers of Hazel Sky, we're only given the basics and aren't given the bigger context while playing this puzzler.
Due to the lack of understanding of the great conflict above in Shane's home city, it was hard to get invested in the drama. There is a key character you talk to throughout the game called Erin, who you speak to over a radio. She helps explain some story bits to you, but overall, she's a shy love interest that Shane gets to know as you play through Hazel Sky.
The script is adorable, but I only started to get their connection until the closing moments of the game. The relationship didn't feel nuanced, but in the end, I was invested enough to care. What doesn't help the script is the performances of the voice actors. They're okay, but at some points, I felt the voiceover for Shane was way over the top, while Erin's came off as overly awkward. Shane's excitable voice in particular sounded odd as he was way too perky as a war for his city rages on the horizon.
Despite the story's issues, the ending is dire and then immediately cute at the end. Some of the effects during these ending segments leave a little to be desired, but at the same time, seeing the tears running down one of the characters' faces looked surprisingly accurate. I won't spoil anymore than that, but the time investment did feel worth it.
Hazel Sky Review | Final Thoughts
Hazel Sky is an ambitious game from a studio of six people. It has platforming similar to Uncharted, the graphics are surprisingly stunning, and the puzzles are well-designed. Some of the budgetary issues came into play, however, such as the mediocre voice acting and somewhat hard-to-follow storyline. Despite some of its issues, I'd still recommend Hazel Sky if you need a break from hard-hitting first-person shooters, epic RPGs, or competitive battle royales.
TechRaptor reviewed Hazel Sky on PC (Steam) with a copy provided by the developer. The game is also available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
- A beautiful set of islands to explore
- Entertaining puzzle design
- The storyline was a bit confusing
- The voice acting is not up to standard
- The facial animation looks odd