Skies Above

We've put together an airship, and now we want to ascend, up into the skies, to visit the other islands floating high above. Yup, this world is made up of islands floating in the sky, held aloft by some naturally occurring whatsit called floatrons, which we also need to gather in order to power our ship. And to do this, we need to grind the mini-games available to us. As the game progresses, we gain access to more islands, and, subsequently, more mini-games, until we get to the very top and face the villain who's threatening the send everyone else crashing down to earth.

There's something very cute about the whole setup. Despite being presented entirely in text, there's very much a sense of being inside some sort of candy-coated cartoon or browser game in the tradition of Neopets. Perhaps it was the mini-games that did it. The sense of it was strong enough that I never bothered to actually examine the NPCs I met along the way, but doing so after the fact revealed that they're all described as geometric shapes with faces and features plastered on. Maybe it's a matter of taste, but I found it absolutely charming.

Now, a few words about these mini-games.

The first couple we start out with are simple enough, and given that they're all repeatable, how well we do at them only matters if we're trying to get through this in as few in-game days as possible. (We only get a limited number of mini-games we can play per in-game day, and we can only play each one once per day.) But they do get more complex and interesting as we progress further up in altitude. Some of them are a matter of luck; others are a matter of deciphering the rather opaque behaviours of the things we're dealing with. There appears to be a system, for instance, dictating the order in which the geysers erupt on the one island where we have to gather floatrons from erupting geysers, but even now I can't say I've got it completely sorted out. This is both frustrating and intriguing -- an unsolved puzzle. Perhaps that's what we're really playing here, and what saves this from being a tedious grindfest: the mystery of how some of these mini-games work.

There are ways of getting bonuses on our mini-game earnings, too, so another aspect of the game lies in figuring out a strategy to optimise each in-game day.

It's like a breakfast of toasty warm strawberry Pop-Tarts and chocolate milk. It's sweet and light, and if you want more, you can always pop another into the toaster and have it ready to eat in a matter of minutes. Or you can eat it cold -- almost as good, but I think you'd enjoy it more if you put those few extra minutes of care in.