Game Pile: Nightsky

Sometimes the notes are all you need.

Sweet.

Calm.

Gentle.

Quiet.

Nightsky is a simply-presented physics platform puzzler, with very simple mechanics and a wonderfully calm aesthetic. You play the role of a disc, found on a beach, left to roll its way through a physics-puzzling world of low-impact hazards, places you can be stuck, and that’s sort of it. There are plenty of levels, and even if you play it dedicatedly you probably won’t finish it all in one setting, which seems best to me. It’s a game that feels like a warm drink before bed, a sort of comforting relaxation. I played Nightsky over the course of several months in bed, a few levels at a time, and each time it helped me sleep gently. While the game has its frustrating moments – using the sphere to power a car for example – there are no penalties for failure, no deliberate tension. You can simply try and try again.

Nightsky is like Limbo – a visually stark game that uses its aesthetics to render a clear mood. While Limbo makes its mood depressing and oppressive, though, Nightsky instead is more relaxing, more kind a game. Even as its narrative becomes as strange as it can, Nightsky only really feels eerie to me, rather than frightening or odd.

Nightsky routinely goes on sale on Steam, and dips down below its ten-dollar mark and shows up regularly on the Humble Bundle sales. It’s worth the ten.

Verdict

Buy it if:

  • You enjoyed Limbo‘s style and play, but not its mood.
  • You want a non-violent puzzle game with a more direct feeling than a point-and-clicker.

Avoid it if:

  • You want ‘perfect’ puzzle solutions.
  • You have problems with manual dexterity/timing puzzles.

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