Ten years ago when I was a child, digital gaming was still in the early stages: Rock Band and Wii Sports Resort were the coolest new games, and everyone was obsessed with Tamagotchis and Webkinz pets. But we also played actual board games: chess, Battleship, Connect 4, you name it. We had to use our imagination when “killing” the white chess queen or blowing up battleships, since the pieces themselves were lifeless and motionless. As a huge Harry Potter fan, I remember really wanting to play wizard’s chess, which had enchanted pieces that moved and fought on their own. Flashing forward to the present, I think new technological breakthroughs such as VR are finally giving us the fully-immersive game experience we want, and Skylight by developer E McNeill for PC takes full advantage of that opportunity. In the game, you get to build your own fleet of space battle ships and pit it against different sets of enemy fleets; in battle, you can choose which vessels target which enemy and use the special abilities of each ship to blast your way to victory.
I was completely impressed by the selection of ships you get to select from: there are large, single carriers as well as smaller pods of fighter vessels. They all come with varying levels of armor, speed, firepower, and health, so it is crucial to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the enemy fleet before choosing which ships to command. Some vessels also possess special abilities, such as long-range firepower or teleportation. After amassing your fleet, you direct each individual ship to a particular location in the battle and target it to one particular enemy ship; I found that combining single carriers and pods of smaller ships was especially effective when going up against large enemy ships. You must also be careful because smaller ships can hover around a larger ship and prevent it from following your orders, which can stall your battle plan. Counterattack with smaller ships of your own and being sure to blow up the bigger carriers first!
The only issues I had were in the heat of battle: one time, I was given a tip to shoot the enemies from the side instead of the front, but when I tried moving around, the enemy continued to face me head on and I could not hit it from the side. In addition, I once tried using my cloaking device on one of my special ships and becoming invisible, but it malfunctioned and the enemy ships were still able to see me. However, I am sure there is a way to do both of these things correctly, and with a little more practice I can hopefully figure it out.
For all its great variety and action, Skylight’s main strength is still its amazing visual layout. Watching your ships follow your orders in a real space battle is thrilling, and the VR adds to real feel of the game. It would be even more fantastsic if we could zoom in on the battle and view it from different close angles, but for now Skylight is pushing the boundaries and fueling our imagination.
Skylight is available for PC via Steam for $14.99. If you prefer to play VR then use HTC Vive, Oculus Rift or Windows Mixed Reality.