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Forward to the Sky

Forward to the Sky is a medium-short third-person action adventure game whom the player takes the role of a Princess. This Princess, has a very distinct mission; To defeat the evil witch and gain recognition and applauses!

Accordingly to the legend, an evil witch lives on the top of the tower, surrounded by her evil minions who follow her villainous deeds. The tower was once the peaceful home for its inhabitants, who worked on the mines, extracting crystals to sustain their humble lives, until that flagitious day, where a baby girl was born with the ability to form crystals within her body.

The young girl grew apart from everybody, and the miners progressively noticed the low and unprosperous mining results, and everyone eventually blamed the girl as the culprit. Legend has it, the young girl attacked the mine workers with the crystals themselves, and became the ultimate fearful witch! The Princess must now rid the world of such meanie witch and return the crystals to its people.

Developed by Animu Game, a small team dedicated to Anime-based games, Forward to the Sky was their very first game published on Steam back in 2015, 3 years ago to be precise, and up to this day, the feedback has been positive among Steam users. Although the game is short, the objective was simple; to create something interesting, fun and compelling. Mission accomplished!

The player controls the Princess, in her journey through the Tower in a mixture of action and platforming. Against the evil minions, the player can use just two different attacks, and with them, two different combos respectively. However, to climb up this tower, simple attacks won’t be enough, as you’ll have to jump through moving platforms, gears, and even giant stone spheres.

Creating platforming elements can be tricky for any studio, and we’ve seen many succeed and fail, but in this case the ending result is very positive, with a easy and fun movement system. Platformers are part of every youth, and this game is highly recommended for young gamers!

Animu Game presents us a very Anime-Based Princess, whom, although swings a sword bigger than herself, it’s extremely cute, and we surely appreciate the details on her dress, such as her bow ties. She is a princess, after all, and one willing to take matters into her own hands!

The visuals are very appealing to the eyes, and since this adventure is portrayed through different parts of the day, we get to enjoy different weather, going from a beautiful sunny morning, into a magical night, and ending in a wrapped torrid sunrise! Although the levels are repetitive and simple, it has some sufficient details, such as wildflowers and moss, leaving a faint impression you really are in ancient ruins.

The small story-plot is told by folklore and legends in an image/text sequence of short notes, almost like a puppet play. These story segments are unlocked if one collects every crystals in the level, and there are 100 to gather in 6 different levels.

Crystals aren’t easy to gather, as they are very well guarded by evil skeletons! These are the only enemies you’ll encounter, and they have different classes too; warriors, mages, archers and even heavy warriors. The combat is not complex enough to perform huge and extreme combos, so you’ll most likely feel like taking them one by one, if you can get that attention individually that is.

Although simplistic, don’t underestimate this title, as enemies have really good hitboxes and clearly a fantastic reaction to the player. Their group behavior is pretty good as well, so you’ll never have the same fight twice.

Worry not brave Princess, because the skeletons are not what you’ll most fear in this adventure. Crystals are running wild, especially with their laser beams, and that’s definitely tricky. The hitboxes for our main character could have been improved, but not game breaking! Since we are talking about platforming mechanics, you’d expect to fall to your death, but no... falling over the ledges won’t kill our protagonist, as her truthful air balloon comes to the rescue, but remember though, losing all your life means a new level start over!

(Engaging puzzles are an important part of the tower, and most of them hide more crystals to collect in secret areas, usually evolving tricks with mechanisms, doors, or just hidden paths.)

PC settings are really basic ones as seen on many other Unity engine games, with just three major options to choose from; Resolution, Fullscreen mode or Windowed, and graphic options, going from Fastest for better performance to Fantastic, where the best visuals are. Among these options, light effects seem to be the heavier one, where my GTX 750 Ti struggled the most.

Input for joystick or controller is also available, but the game is extremely well optimized for keyboard and mouse.

Forward to the Sky would be fully voiced, if not for the storytelling, as both the Princess and Witch are voiced over in English during their adventure. The audio works are pretty good, and worth any Anime audio-subbed, we’ve been having this last couple of years on TV. That’s not saying much, but this is a small game as well.

Music is included, and it’s free for owners of the game on Steam. The soundtrack can be found on the OST folder in the game files, and although we have nothing but respect for developers and publishers who give their soundtracks for free, I personally got to wonder why releasing the tracks with such low quality as 128kbps of bitrate!

Overall Forward to the Sky is a fantastic and a pleasant short adventure about a cute Princess who’s determined to defeat an evil Witch, but as in myths and legends, there’s always more than meets the eye.

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