I’m a person who’s been known to thoroughly enjoy a bad game every now and then, but Forward to the Sky really tested my limits. Having watched a trailer before taking on this review, I was at least a bit prepared for what was in store, but it paled in comparison to my actual experience. Almost everything about the game is a bland, unpolished mess, and to top it off, Forward to the Sky is listed for an exorbitant price on the Nintendo Switch eShop, making this one you’ll certainly want to steer clear of.
One of the most glaring flaws with Forward to the Sky is just how generic it is. The story amounts to your standard “bad guy is ostracized from society, and as a result, things go wrong” motif and is entirely predictable in its outcome. Combat is likewise incredibly basic to the point of being detrimental to the overall experience. You only have two forms of attack, one of which is hard to aim correctly, and there’s practically no feedback on whether your attacks are doing anything when they land. Even the bosses feel like nothing more than beefed up enemies and were simply a chore to fight. Thankfully, the game only lasts a couple hours maximum, and combat is fairly infrequent, limiting your exposure to it.
Graphically, Forward to the Sky looks incredibly bland as well. It’s not the worst-looking game I’ve ever seen, but I’ve seen far better as well. I also encountered a number of texture glitches that threw me off. Walls are supposed to block what lies behind them from sight, not let it come through. The occasional glitch is one thing, but this proved to be far more frequent than I would’ve expected. Furthermore, areas of the game move in and out of focus seemingly at random. Things that are right in front of you are extremely blurry and are only broken up by the small segment that’s utterly clear for some reason. A prime example of this can be seen on the staircase in the picture below. I also noticed a lot of grammatical issues and inconsistencies in the text, which, while certainly minor, don’t make for a polished experience.
The one potential redeeming gameplay factor is the variety of puzzles you encounter. Each level focuses on a new mechanic, such as moving walls or rearranging light beams to create platforms. Even so, the variety of puzzles only keeps the game on life support, as there’s almost no challenge to be found. Furthermore, because of the graphical issues with the game, I found it difficult to know when platforms were safe to stand on when dealing with the light puzzles. At one point, I had to navigate a series of disappearing platforms, and by the time it looked safe to stand on, they were already disappearing. It took me at least 15 minutes to get across three of these platforms as a result, and it took even longer to complete the optional portion of that puzzle.
Outside of the main story, there are two additional modes to play through. The first is an endless runner where you climb the Sky Tower collecting jewels until you run out of health. The controls here didn’t quite feel as responsive as I would’ve liked, and the camera transition around corners was incredibly jerky to the point where I would lose track of my character for a brief moment whenever it happened (and it does so frequently). The other mode is a simple horde mode, where you fight waves of increasingly tougher enemies one after another. Given my issues with combat in the story mode, this is just adding insult to injury. Neither of these modes really needs to exist, and I would have much preferred that the developers polish up the main game instead of adding these.
On their own, all the issues the game has are things I’ve had to experience before, so I can almost be okay with them. However, the many problems with Forward to the Sky become unforgivable once you consider its price. For some reason beyond my comprehension, the game costs $48.99 on the eShop. That’s not a typo. It actually costs that much. For context, the Steam version costs $7.99. The Steam price is still a little expensive given the experience it provides, but it’s certainly more reasonable. There’s absolutely no way anyone should be paying almost $50 for this though.
At best, Forward to the Sky is extremely unpolished; at worst, it’s unfinished. It’s one of the most generic games I’ve ever played, with almost no redeeming factors to it. Even Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia had a few things I enjoyed, and I would much rather be playing that than spending any more time on Forward to the Sky. It’s almost bad enough to make me want to wish I had that time back, and I would strongly advise anyone to give this a wide berth, especially at its current price point.
Release Date: Feb. 25, 2021
No. of Players: 1 player
Category: Action, Platformer, Puzzle
Developer: HorngYeuan Digital
A review code was provided by the publisher.