Independently developed by Magichnology, Forward to the Sky is described as a third person action adventure influenced by 3D entries from The Legend of Zelda franchise. This inspiration is clear from the outset, and with the help of community funding and feedback the title is slowly but surely moving along in development. Magichnology wanted us to experience what they have been cooking up these past several months, and so the man in charge, Wei Chen, graciously provided us with what appears to be a very early alpha build of the game. The purpose of this build is to showcase the basic engine, gameplay mechanics, and the various level design hooks and gimmicks, that will all come together to create some interesting levels in the final build of the game.
The demo that we were given came with six levels, with each featuring enemy encounters, various types of platforming situations, and some environmental puzzles and hazards. At this stage there is no real level design, rather the purpose of each level in the demo was to isolate and demonstrate the various mechanics and features of the game, to give an indication of how they would work. There’s switch puzzles, moving platforms, spike traps, and you also battle hordes of skeletal warriors. What’s presented here generally functions quite well, and they will eventually make for nice inputs when the real levels are finalized. The levels in this build were such that you could really bypass everything and make it straight to the exit, but as I mentioned they were simply intended to demonstrate ideas and mechanics.
Mechanically Forward to the Sky feels noticeably similar to 3D Zelda, featuring a variety of combination attacks which involve mixing up strong and light attacks to pull of some cool chains and even some signature special moves. The controls for the combat system are simple, but they certainly allow you to pull of a variety of different attacks even in this very early prototype test. The basic combat and movement mechanics feel nice enough although the camera can make things a little challenging at times, not to mention the lack of a targeting/lock-on system makes things quite difficult when you’re surrounded by enemies. Still, it’s a workable and fun gameplay system that will hopefully be given more polish and useful features as the game continues to spend more time in development.
The basic premise of Forward to the Sky revolves around a warrior princess of sorts who sets out to explore a castle in the sky on a hot air balloon. The game is planned to be a story driven experience with no use of dialogue, which is something that wasn’t really touched upon in this alpha build. Still, the colorful magical setting demonstrated looks quite interesting even in its raw form, and in time they’ll hopefully add more personality and detail to the game world and premise.
Visually the game looks rather pleasant, the main anime character model looks pretty cool and animates nicely. It’s a bright and vibrant game with rather simplistic environments that will probably exhibit more detail and visual touches in future builds. The music comprises of uplifting keyboard/piano pieces that are quite catchy. Our time with this very early alpha build of Forward to the Sky was simply a taste of its mechanics and ideas. It’s too early to make a call but there are certainly some nice ingredients present here, and only time will tell how well they’re all polished and mixed together.
The release date for Forward to the Sky has yet to be announced, and given that the game is still in the earliest stage of development, it may be quite sometime before anything concrete can be confirmed. In the meantime, you can check out the official developer website for the latest updates and information on the game’s development progress. Forward to the Sky is being developed for PC, Linux, and Mac operating systems.