Ever since humans looked up at the sky and wished they could fly, they've wondered what it would be like to live among the clouds. Although current science tells us that this is impossible, that doesn't stop artists from exploring the idea of living up high. The folks among the Monolith Of Minds have decided to share their vision sky-high living in their pixel title of Lila's Sky Ark. In addition to a sea of clouds, there are many fantastical elements to encounter as well an interesting perspective of technology.
When it comes to creating civilizations in extreme environments such as underground or in the sky, it's usually due to the fact that something happened to the world on the surface. While the details are vague at best, you can tell that something bad happened to lead to Lila's Sky Ark. You play as Lila, a young woman living on a floating series of artificial islands in the sky.
Having lived in peace for many years, that peace and all the fantastical creatures that cultivate it is threatened when an ominous entity known as the Empire starts to attack. As the only able-bodied person around, you must lead Lila to fight back and save her world. With quirky elements mixed with serious moments, there's a lot to catch your attention.
The story is also quite intriguing. Each major cutscene gives you a piece of Lila's personal story while the letters you find give insight into her relationship with her parents. It's all an intricate tapestry that hides an interesting and emotional tale of struggles and doubt that is related to why Lila is in the sky.
The main mechanic of picking things up is both simple and entertaining. Lila is what would happen if Link never picked up the sword and simply fought back by picking up and throwing pots. Almost every object can be picked up, stored, and then thrown at enemies with varying effects. Not only does this make combat more hectic but also feeds into player curiosity to find and throw everything just to see what will happen.
The level of difficulty is raised as a result of the throwing combat. However, this is a good thing. Almost every enemy you encounter is met one-on-one so you get plenty of time to see what they're about and how tough they are in battle. This means that you only have yourself to blame if you flounder against a group of them since you had plenty of opportunities to learn all about them. Each world you visit introduces you to the coming enemies and then ramps up their presence and tenacity as you progress.
However, there is a lack of variety in terms of enemies. Though the opponents you face can be very persistent and intimidating, they're also very familiar. Each area only has about three to four enemy types and you'll quickly get bored of dealing with them over and over again. This isn't helped by the fact that the Empire's enemies will start appearing repeatedly across the lands you'll visit. At that point, it just becomes easier to run past them.
A flying ark is a difficult thing to maintain and even the slightest error can bring it down. Lila's Sky Ark has a few things to touch up to keep things going smoothly. This includes its pixel art and animation. While it can be quite colorful and vibrant, it lacks a natural feel. Everything feels stiff and slow which only becomes more and more obvious as you progress through the game. Certain encounters can be very flashy, but these moments are few and far between.
Then there are the pure pieces of random. Though unrelated and non-sequitur elements can be amusing and interesting, they can also be pointless. There isn't a lot to cause confusion in Lila's Sky Ark, but when there is, the novelty is short-lived.
Lila's Sky Ark Review | Final Thoughts
Lila's Sky Ark is a top-down 2D adventure game about throwing objects at weird creatures and music-based foes to win the day. It has an enjoyable key mechanic, a good level of difficulty, and an intriguing story. However, these are held back by stiff visuals, a lack of variety, and meaningless randomness. In spite of all this, it's worth it to shoot for the sky ark.
TechRaptor reviewed Lila's Sky Ark on Steam with a copy provided by those behind the game's release. It is also available on Nintendo Switch.
- A fun and hectic combat/collecting mechanic.
- A difficulty level that presents and then ramps up effectively.
- An interesting and surprisingly sincere story.
- Pixel art lacking in smooth animation and appearance.
- Little variety in enemies and creatures.
- Random elements that add confusion with no weight.