Lila’s Sky Ark is a new game from developer Monolith of Minds and published by Graffiti Games, the team behind Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion! If you are looking for a game full of absurdist humor and document shredding similar to Turnip Boy’s journey, you won’t find that here but you will fantastic adventure which explores themes such as loss, loneliness, grief and depression, in this moving prequel to Resolutiion. Check out our full thoughts below!
Lila’s Sky Ark – The Story
Lila’s Sky Ark is set in a colorful, whimsical world filled with fantastical creatures and seeped in mystery. This world is a mix of dueling ideologies. Within this same world, you have the dichotomies of the natural and industrial, the magical and scientific, all happening at the same time. The world reminded me highly of the one from Netflix’s original cartoon Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts, which is also filled with giant talking creatures, ruined structures and science that crosses the line into magic.
Between these conflicting ideals is Lila. A little girl who may or may not belong to this world, but has made it her home. You’ll discover her past through a series of letters scattered through the levels as you try to save the spirits around you from their own apathy. Airships have invaded Rainbow Ark under the command of the Conductor, who is intent on destroying everything that doesn’t move to their beat.
Lila’s Sky Ark is an action-adventure puzzler at its core. The mechanics can be most closely compared to that of another impressive Switch title, Hyper Light Drifter. Unlike the Hyper Light Drifter though, Lila defends herself primarily with projectiles. Not every fight is worth your time though as throwable objects can be limited in an area and health isn’t necessarily plentiful even in the beginning stages.
Speaking of health, the world Lila lives in is strange and overgrown. For this reason, you will not be finding your typical health pacts or wall chickens to recover your health, but instead withered roses. These look like red, wrinkled balls and can be tucked into your backpack for storing later or cracked on the grown to regain your health. The health bar is represented by a flower bloom and hits from enemies knock off petals from the flower. Finding large petals hidden in the levels will also add additional petals to your meter, allowing you to take more hits.
And get hit you will, even from the most unlikely places. While wandering around the sprawling levels of Lila’s world, it is important to keep in mind that not everything friend-shaped is a friend and not everything that looks monstrous is an enemy. Don’t be afraid to interact with objects and characters you might normally meet blade first in other games.
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So, what did we think of Lila’s Sky Ark? When I received my copy for review, I was intent on playing just through the first boss as quickly as possible to start this article but was sucked into the story instead. I couldn’t leave any part on the map uncolored and ended up staying awake until 1 A.M. playing instead.
I love how you are dropped into the world with no explanation for the bizarre surroundings as if conversing with giant spirits in the forest and dodging attacks from unicorn-foxes was a normal part of any day. There is a tutorial, but it is light and doesn’t take you out of the immersive experience. Heavy-handed tutorials can often drag the pacing at the start of the game, but not this one.
There is a decent amount of backtracking in the game and it can be easy to get lost if you aren’t diligently checking your map, but once you unlock the fast traveling between mailbox this minor complaint drops away. The limited backpack space was also an issue for me since I’m a grade-A hoarder in games, but the backpack upgrade is offered very early on too.
Overall, I would suggest Lila’s Sky Ark to anyone who is a fan of games set in unusual settings that challenge your preconceived notions about the world around you like Undertale. In short, it is rich with interesting character designs, beautiful music, immersive levels and unique gameplay. If you are a fan of the action-adventure genre or puzzle games but tire of sword-based combat and platforming heavy games, this is a must-add to your list.
Lila’s Sky Ark is available today, April 21, and has launched on both Steam and Nintendo Switch through the eshop. You can get a taste of Lila’s world looks through the trailer provided below or find it on Steam here!
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