Is Sky: Children of The Light Worthy of Being The Successor of Journey from Thatgamecompany?
Since I discovered Journey by thatgamecompany, I found the same old familiar feeling of what video games are supposed to bring. Back when I was still in elementary school, I’ve always enjoyed pouring my time into playing some video games with the boys. After a hard day at school, being able to gather and play with each other is like a short escape to paradise.
It’s been quite long since I’ve found a game so beautiful and enchanting as Journey. Not only visually stunning, but the game also feels therapeutic. I used to spare an hour or two every day to dive into the wonderful world of Journey when I was still in college to relieve my stress.
But nowadays, I barely have any time to turn on my laptop, let alone play a game on it. That’s when I started to embrace mobile gaming and in turn, found this hidden gem titled Sky: Children of The Light.
Everything about this exploration-focused game, from the evocative visual style and soaring musical score to the intimate moments of subtle interaction with other nameless, speechless players, is pure bliss. After I heard that it’s the latest game from thatgamecompany — the visionary studio behind low-key, critically-acclaimed game, Journey — I already have a good idea about what Sky is all about. Sky isn’t a direct sequel to Journey, but it might as well be: the characters move with that same elegant grace as their capes flutter behind them and it features an expanded and more engaging multiplayer component.
Light The World
Sky takes you as one of the children of the light, who seeks out lingering spirits — which are suspended as translucent silhouettes across various worlds — in order to relieve them and bring them back to the lights. It’s a charming story about healing and restoration that’s almost meditative to play. The tutorials teach you how to move, jump, and fly though the clouds to reach your destination. But the thing is, Sky is a game about discovery in more ways than just its beautiful world.
Similar to Journey, Sky offers an almost unrivaled sense of freedom, specifically because of its simplicity. Detailed guidance on where to go or what to do generally isn’t needed because exploring the open and inviting worlds and intuitively finding things on your own is basically the entire game, but naturally it can also be a bit unclear where to go at times.
The Seven Realms
Sky is as complex as you want it to be. There are seven realms to explore with their own distinctive landscape and theme, from the ethereal and cloud-heavy worlds full of floating islands to those covered in dense, green grass inviting you to skate across the prairies, or even forests drenched in rain that evoke a somber yet comforting atmosphere. The entire game can be completed by going solo, but there are several hidden doors and secret areas that can be unlocked with the help of other players.
And arguably, meeting and playing with others is just as important as finding your way. Interactions with other players is limited to a collection of quaint and frankly heartwarming gestures— even though you can do some talk n’chat when you sit together at times — but this limitation is what makes the game’s community feels so positive and supportive. And this is what put Sky over the top. You can hold out a candle to greet and add a player to your friend list and then assign them a custom nickname (since you can’t see their actual name). You can play music together, exchange glowing butterflies, and even hold hands to go exploring as a team. Technically, you can invite friends directly to play with people you know, but much like Sky as a whole, the unspoken communication in its multiplayer is a big part of the magic and is best with a stranger.
In some regards, Sky’s focus on deeper gameplay robs it of a bit of the charm that made Journey’s elegant simplicity so special the first time around, but that’s often the case with follow-ups and spiritual successors. Instead of trying to replicate its predecessor, thatgamecompany has instead iterated and expanded upon what came before to craft an adventure that’s strange, meditative, and memorable. The ending invites repeat playthroughs and the dynamic multiplayer encounters ensure no two runs will ever be the same.
Sky: Children of the Light is a breathtaking follow-up to thatgamecompany’s previous hit, Journey, that surprised and delighted me from start to finish with its subtle story of exploration and healing. Visually, it’s breathtaking to behold on a mobile device and it delivers one of the most memorable and purely joyous multiplayer experiences I’ve had in recent memory. This is an adventure for anyone and everyone, and a healing potion for every lost soul who come to search the light.
“When fears are grounded, dreams take flight.”