Skylar & Plux: Adventure on Clover Island review for Xbox One, PS4, PC

Platform: Xbox One
Also On: PS4, PC
Publisher: Grip Games
Developer: Right Nice Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

To call Skylar & Plux: Adventure on Clover Island outdated is missing the point of the game entirely. Of course it’s outdated. It’s a 3D platformer that makes no effort to hide its indebtedness to 3D platformers of days gone by. If it had come out alongside the original Ratchet & Clank or Jak & Daxter, no one would have batted an eye. It’s a game that, in effect, imagines what it would be like if the last 15 years had never happened.

This is both a good thing and a bad thing. On the “good” side of the ledger, there’s the fact that it’s solidly above average in a lot of ways, coming at a time when not many people are making games like this anymore (and those that are kind of suck at it). The world is colourful, the controls are intuitive and work as they should, and, from a broad perspective, the game does a pretty good job of evoking the same general feelings as its very obvious influences.

Unfortunately, Skylar & Plux falters a little when you get down to the details. The characters — a cat and an owl, as far as I can tell — are kind of nondescript, lacking the identifiable character traits that made Ratchet & Clank so successful. The same goes for the titular Clover Island; it’s nice enough to look at, but if you start exploring — as you would in any good 3D platformer — you’ll discover it’s kind of empty. I lost track of the number of times I went off in some random direction, expecting to find something that rewarded me for my exploration, only to discover empty spaces.

Because the characters and the setting are so lacking in detail, it’s hard to get invested in what little story there is here. Skylar and Plux are trying to save their island home, but everything about the story is so rote, you’d be forgiven if it made zero impact on you and you forgot about it within minutes of putting down the controller.

It’s also worth noting that this game is quite short; you could easily beat it in one sitting, assuming you’re sitting for 2-3 hours. As someone who likes games that don’t require a massive time investment, this didn’t bother me too much, but if you’re going in expecting something that’ll tide you over until the release of Super Mario Odyssey — or even until next week, for that matter — this most definitely won’t do the trick.

Still, even with those flaws, I’d hesitate to say that Skylar & Plux: Adventure on Clover Island is bad, or not worth checking out. As I said, it’s a solid 3D platformer, and it generally does what it wants to do fairly well. It’s probably not going to be remembered with the same kind of reverence as its forebears, but for an afternoon, it’ll be a pleasant way to pass the time.

Grade: B