Exquisitely Synth-ful: Skylight Demo And Release

When something is made of the making of music, there’s not a great deal a few words on a screen can do to describe it accurately. Skylight randomly generates a series of tiles, which are stepping stones across the sky and into the clouds. Each block makes a sound, the robot who bounces across them to find his way home is like Tom Hanks dancing on a piano in a department store, except lost and sad rather than warped out of shape by the sinister powers of Zoltar. When you find the flow, controlling momentum and creating the skeleton of a melody, Skylight shimmers. Trailer below, demo here, full version available for $2.50.

The demo really is worth a look, as are some of creator Bill Borman’s thoughts on music. I wish I had a theremin. I’d take it everywhere.

Importantly for those who have brains attuned like mine, it is possible to invert the y axis. I always forget to check controls on the Unity launch splash screen, looking for the option in game instead, but the ‘controls’ tab before launch is the place to look, as the menu helpfully reminded me. Press ‘i’ to invert.

I can’t stop thinking about Big now, specifically that I wish Cronenberg had made it, in the style of The Fly. Tom Hanks all stretched, adolescent body horror, the impossible rush through puberty and growth fusing bones and creating a monster. Actually, Hanks probably wouldn’t have done it. It’s another job for Goldblum, I reckon.


  1. aliksy says:

    First reaction is it kind of looks like a first-person doodle jump with music. Neat.

    • Grawl says:

      The creator of this game posted a “work in progress” on the Something Awful forums. He described it exactly as that – he tried to make a doodle jump clone and this is the result.

  2. Splynter says:

    The music and the way your actions add in little incidentals and accents reminds me of the wonderful Flower on PS3. This one looks interesting.

  3. pupsikaso says:

    Can you go backwards? And what happens if you miss when jumping?

  4. Dowr says:

    First-person Mario-style platforming… eh.

  5. Urthman says:

    So you pick a color at random to land on and hear a random note plinked on the piano? If there’s anything interesting about the platforming or the music generation, that trailer sure isn’t demonstrating what it is.

  6. flownerous says:

    Played the demo, didn’t impress. Doesn’t seem to have much depth but I would have paid the $2.50 if it was more polished.

    I found the motion difficult to understand, often overshooting because I suddenly accelerated at a much faster rate than before. Might be a failed attempt to simulate joystick input with a keyboard?

    No one-button reset is unforgivable. One hour of the dev’s time to save every player a few seconds every time they die doesn’t seem too much to ask.

    The visuals and music are pleasant enough once you’re in game, but I felt no connection to the music being generated.

    Maybe I’m just being picky or it’s better in the full version.

  7. Sheng-ji says:

    How could you want Big to be any different, it’s the movie that always can make me smile, no matter what! Also, I’m not sure any blockbuster has gotten quite so close to showing paedophilia, not that thats a particular selling point.

    • YogSo says:

      Not related to your comment, Sheng-ji, but following with the Big off-topic, Adam’s intro made me look for Zoltar pictures and it saddens me that there are 66 pictures of Big‘s Zoltar before showing this one.

  8. chackosan says:

    Flower did this kind of thing a lot better, at least in terms of the mechanics. The fact that it was more laidback probably helped you soak in the ambience.

  9. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Ugh. I was hopeful when downloading this, but the controls were far too awkward for me to get into any kind of ‘flow’ to enjoy this for a longer time. Maybe it’s me, but I often overshot plates by just a short bit, feeling like I should land on them. Also, the movement feels fun if you’re speeding along and know you have good control so you don’t have to cut back. But you have to.

    Perhaps it’s the procedural generation which does it? I don’t know. But it feels like it should provide that flowing motion like parkour-like games ought to (Mirror’s Edge, Cloudbuilt, inMomentum).

  10. Toupee says:

    Cool idea. I was certainly excited to try. It’s just waaay too frustrating. Either the hit detection for the panels needs to be vastly increased (I couldn’t tell if I should trust my shadow or the on-screen reticule… neither helped) or I’m missing something.

    Couldn’t get far enough to tell if the music gets interesting, but the gameplay seems a little shallow based on my failed attempts to beat even the demo. Bummer.

  11. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    The problem is that the fact that I’m rubbish/the movement controls are off (choose one) does detract significantly from the game. You can point at us (me) for being overly critical of a cheap game, but I didn’t really have the price point in mind. I just wanted to like the game and I suppose how I wanted it to work clashed with how it actually works.

    Surely, that’s a valid opinion? Afterwards we can always discuss whether it’s worth the price or not. For me it isn’t because (see choice above) makes sure I’m not enjoying myself.

    • moltobenny says:

      The controls are strange, but consistent. If WASD moved you around like DOOM, the game would offer zero challenge.

  12. thecat17 says:

    Kieron’s favorite game of 2012. And possibly of all time.

    Calling it now.

  13. kooolputts says:

    lol the character is funny