March 27, 2012
Captain Skyro ($0.99) by Team Pok Pok has you using your hook to slingshot up the sky. Release your inner pirate in this swashbuckling adventure. If there is one thing that I love most about the App Store, it has to be the multitude of simple games that are a blast to play. Captain Skyro lands in this list with its clean visual appeal, simple controls, and gameplay that is easy to grasp yet very difficult to master.
To get the story straight, Captain Skyro is about a captain who is forced to walk the plank of a flying pirate ship after his crew stages a mutiny. Now Skyro must climb his way back up the clouds to reclaim his ship. While the story itself is not entirely groundbreaking, it makes for a plot that molds perfectly to the gameplay. As you climb your way up through each of the 40 levels, you will periodically reach your ship. In each of these instances you are faced with a boss battle that involves some tricky slingshotting and obstacle avoidance. "How exactly do you do this 'slingshot' thing?" you might ask. It's simple. Touch and drag Skyro to move him around anywhere within the radius of his rope, and release when you are ready to launch. The mechanism is very similar to physics games like Angry Birds where the farther back you pull, the faster the projectile is launched. All things considered, this control scheme allows for speedy slingshotting as well as precise movements such as dodging fish and collecting gold coins.
What's that? Did I just say "dodging fish"? Yes, among the large variety of obstacles that you will face, there are flying fish that leap out of lightning clouds. To get a feel for the huge variety of obstacles in the game, you will face: spike clouds, vanishing clouds, fish-bone-spitting-drunkards, flying death turtles, and puffer fish. As with most vertical jumping games, touching any of the dangerous obstacles means an instant death for Captain Skyro. Luckily, as you make your ascent, you will come across anchored clouds that serve as checkpoints. Each time you die, you will revert back to the most recent checkpoint cloud that you landed on, until you die five times on one level ... then you have to start the level from scratch. Like I said, the plot of the story - the quest to reclaim Skyro's ship - meshes perfectly with the vertical gameplay and allows for a ton of replay value. In my mind, an endless mode would be a great addition to Captain Skyro. Team Pok Pok does have plans to bring improvements and additions to the game, but there is no set time frame yet. Also worth noting is that the team is definitely considering Game Center integration, which I think will be huge plus.