Wednesday, 25 January 2012


Developer: Nicklas Nygren
Released: January 2011 (I think)

Nightsky is a 2D physics puzzle platformer. A boy finds a glass sphere on the beach and brings it home. That night, he begins to dream strange dreams of the sphere moving through surreal environments. You control the sphere during the boy's dreams.

Nightsky flew way under the radar -- its metascore is 78 with only 6 reviews. What reviews exist agree that Nightsky is fun and nicely put together, if short and exacting.

There have been no updates as far as I can tell.
Nightsky's graphics remind me Donkey Kong Country Returns' silhouette levels. A soft, colourful backdrop provides strong contrast with black silhouetted foreground elements. It's nice and simple, with nothing to distract you. In fact it's so simple that I don't really have much more to say.

There's a lot of variety in the puzzles. Your sphere can move left and right and usually, but not always, has some sort of power(s) associated with the A and/or S keys. Powers include speed boost, brake, and reverse gravity. Many levels contain vehicles which can have powers of their own. Vehicles are usually moved by the sphere, which is mounted in wheels, so that it moves mechanical parts when it rotates. There are airships, "cars", and other vehicle types. In some levels, you don't even control the sphere directly -- instead you control an independent vehicle, mechanical platforms, and even pinball flippers. The puzzles aren't extremely complex, but there are some neat elements to them.
The music helps provide a very calm atmosphere. It's only one or two instruments at a time, soft, and slow. It's the kind of music you'll almost forget you're listening to, which works quite well for this type of game.
There are two difficulty settings: normal and alternative. That's right, not hard -- alternative. Alternative difficulty actually alters the puzzles so that your second playthrough will be different from the first. It is actually harder, but it's an interesting way to provide another difficulty, rather than how most games do it (by ramping up damage, which wouldn't work here since there isn't any).
I'm also told (by the game) that there are hidden stars to collect throughout the levels. I didn't find a single one on my playthrough. I'm not sure if that means they're very well hidden or if they're  not active until you beat the game. In any case, there's a final stage that requires finding those hidden stars to advance.
Nightsky is short, but it's fun if you're looking for a nice calm puzzle experience. It's currently $10 in the Steam store.

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