Fading Skies Demo Review

I got the chance to play the Fading Skies demo, getting a taste of whats to come for an interesting platformer.
Fading Skies Featured

The team over at Distant Blue gave me the unique opportunity to play a demo version of their upcoming game, Fading Skies, a story-driven platforming adventure game set in a vibrant and heartfelt sci-fi fantasy setting. While this demo version of the game was light on story and careful not to reveal too much about the game, I was able to get a pretty clear idea of what the full release has to offer. While I have some critiques, I can say for sure that my overall impression of Fading Skies was positive, and I’m excited to see what the developers at Distant Blue have in store for the game’s full release.

As I mentioned above, one of the first things you’re going to notice about Fading Skies is the platforming. Fading Skies’ gameplay is built around its various platforming segments and mechanics, even building some of the demo’s combat segments around platforming puzzles.

Fading Skies Ryn
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

So the important question is: If Fading Skies is built so heavily around platforming, is the platforming actually any good? The answer is, yeah, it’s pretty alright, but it could use some work.

The biggest issue I had with the platforming in the Fading Skies demo was the problem of momentum. Much of the platforming is based on vertical jumps, standing on one platform and jumping across to another. I’m pretty sure that’s where the word “platforming” comes from.

The issue is that the forward movement you need to close the gaps doesn’t always end once your feet touch the ground; I had an issue with Ryn continuing to take a step and a half, sometimes two steps, forward after landing from a forward jump.

One or two steps don’t sound like a big deal until you’re landing on the edge of the platform you jumped to. A lot of the platforms, specifically the rock ones, felt just big enough to land on if Ryn didn’t decide to take those extra steps. There were certainly a few times when this extra momentum saw me slipping off the edge of the platform and falling to my death.

Fading Skies Fight
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

I missed the mark on the platforming quite a bit, falling off the edge, colliding with the back of a rock, coming too low to latch onto an edge, and flinging myself too far to one side. I’m usually not this bad at platforming, and while I’m sure player skill had something to do with it, I simply felt like the momentum, platform size, and placement in the Fading Skies demo could use some work.

That being said, I found that the platforming was mostly pretty good. Mechanics like airdashing forward and up were fun, paired with some interesting puzzle ideas, though I felt like these puzzles tended to punish the learning process with death/checkpoint respawns a bit too much. A “safety net” terrain placement under some of these mechanic introduction puzzles would have made the learning curve a bit more forgiving.

In addition to the platforming, the Fading Skies demo showed off some light, albeit interesting, combat mechanics.

Fading Skies Dragon
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

Fighting foes in the Fading Skies demo consist of dodging, an aimed ranged attack, and light/heavy attack rotation. Simple and sweet, Fading Skies makes its combat stand out with a few interesting little twists, like shielded enemies, support mobs, and using the environment (or occasionally an enemy’s attacks) to harm your foes. As I said before, the combat comes secondary to the platforming and is often baked into the traversal mechanics in one way or another. You’ll see a few short combat encounters to break up platforming, a segment that requires you to duck and dash through terrain to avoid being shot, or even a boss fight that requires quick and clever traversal of the terrain to win.

The Fading Skies demo reminded me a lot of classic PS2-era platformers, both due to the mechanics themselves and the way the game’s setting was presented.

With its character design and color choices, it gave me huge Spyro vibes. The world is remarkably pretty to look at and, though full of danger, feels welcoming and whimsical. The entire demo is set in a vibrant forest era, which then transitions at times to this interesting cyberspace world. Both maintain vibes of wonder and whimsy without feeling dumbed down or too “childlike.”

The Fading Skies demo chooses to withhold much of the game’s story, cutting out a few cutscenes and character introductions, but the bits we get served are interesting and left me wanting what the full experience would offer.

From what we see in the demo, Fading Skies seems to be a sci-fi story set in a strange alien world. It appears to touch on interesting concepts, like astral projection, forgotten pasts, and a strange corruption of the local population by malevolent energy locked within strange and ominous crystals.

Fading Skies Astral Projection
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

The characters we meet in Fading Skies lack any real introduction, which is done on purpose to keep from spoiling the story present in the game’s main release. Nevertheless, I found myself drawn in by what little of the characters we see. Specifically, our protagonist, Ryn, is an interesting one, with a positive attitude and unique abilities, paired with a past clouded by amnesia. Fey, a character we see briefly in a cutscene included in the demo, also caught my attention. I was left curious about their relationship and wanting more from these characters.

It had a few hiccups, but the Fading Skies demo overall presented a taste of an experience to come that I’m sure players will love. With a great setting, a taste of some interesting characters, and some fun, albeit slightly unpolished, mechanics, Fading Skies has a lot of promise, and I’m excited to see what’s to come with the game’s full release.

Pros:

  • A great setting, with a taste of what seem to be interesting and compelling characters
  • Fun enemy and level design
  • Simple yet engaging combat mechanics
  • Old-school platforming and fun boss fights

Cons:

  • Some issues with momentum and platform size, as well as some slightly unforgiving puzzles
Erik Hodges

Erik Hodges

Erik Hodges is a hobby writer and a professional gamer, at least if you asked him. He has been writing fiction for over 12 years and gaming practically since birth, so he knows exactly what to nitpick when dissecting a game's story. When he isn't reviewing games, he's probably playing them.

Comments

Leave a Comment

All comments go through a moderation process, and should be approved in a timely manner. To see why your comment might not have been approved, check out our Comment Rules page!

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.