Sky: Children of the Light

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Genre: 3D Exploration Platformer

Developer: Thatgamecompany

Rating: 4.8/5, recommended!

Sky: Children of the Light is the latest production from Thatgamecompany (a.k.a TGC), the developers of Journey. The two games are similar in many ways, being 3D adventure platformers with a nonverbal multiplayer aspect with gorgeous visuals. While Journey is a one-time experience, Sky: CotL offers continuous content better suited for the mobile audience.

... And it offers its essential content for free! I don't feel like I'll need to step into spoiler territory in order to tell you about Sky, so you can skim through this article risk-free!

The Base Game


Most of Sky's gameplay is geared around exploration, and the main motivator to do that exploration is to find Spirits and Winged Lights (which helps you explore even better). Sky's world is beautifully crafted to facilitate these three aspects, but because the gameplay loop is so simple, I think it is possible for some players to get tired of it if they don't pace themselves with the game.

Aside from one particular area, Sky doesn't require you to finish things in one sitting. In most cases you can stop anywhere and warp back home, and from there you can resume your journey later. With this, my personal strategy has been to take a break between realms, or really anywhere I start to feel tired of exploring.


On mobile, this game has pretty standard controls. You have a little circle on the left side of the screen to move your character, a button on the right to make your character jump and/or fly, and you can drag around the right side of the screen to move around the camera. In most cases these controls work just fine, great, even, but they can sometimes cause problems when you need more fine-tuned movement.

A screenshot from the game of a skykid looking where to jump next
To make full use of guided jumps to cross small gaps, have your character face towards the platform you want to jump to and tap the jump button. If the gap isn't too large then your character should be able to make it. This can also apply to platforms at a higher elevation than the player.

To delve into it a little more: when your character does a standard jump, they leap forward instead of jumping directly up. This might be because the regular jumps in this game are guided to help you do fine platforming, but the game doesn't tell you this, and was something I found out only until I got towards the end of the game. Not a deal breaker, but knowing about how this game deals with fine platforming would've saved me a little heartache I had earlier on.

Flight in this game also has some slight issues, but they often occur in just some specific cases. The direction in which you're flying depends both on camera angles and player input, with camera angles taking priority. This has caused issues for me when I intended to be flying in one direction, but the game then decides there's an object that the camera should be focusing on, which then interrupts flight as my character is then compelled to follow the camera.

The actual layout of the controls can be problematic too, but this isn't a fault of the actual design. Rather, its just a consequence of how things move around with camera angles or finger movement. When you tap or hold down on your character, your character will release a call. If you tap, hold, and drag your character, it makes your character move around in a circle (I'm not 100% sure how to describe what the character does when you do this, haha). There are some moments in the game where you need to have your character release a call, but an accidental finger movement can cause them to do a drag-circle-dance instead. Depending on where your character is located on the screen, this can also cause instances where you want your character to jump, but because your character is located beneath the jump button, they release a call instead. In the grand scheme of the game this is really minute, but there are certain segments where you really need your character to do one thing or the other.


Sky is a multiplayer game and it sometimes utilizes this fact in its gameplay. Most commonly, there are doors that require two players to open, and in most cases getting another player to help you actually isn't that hard — even if the door you're trying to open isn't required for progression. Trying to wrangle more players for more obscure puzzles is where some issues arise.

A skykid sititng next to a stone surrounded by red candles
There's an additional puzzle beyond the Eight Player Room that has all the odds stacked against its completion: It's out-of-the-way, requires 7 players and patience. If one player moves before the time is right, everyone is fucked. The reward for completing it kinda sucks anyway.

For some specific puzzles, such as one referred to as the "Eight Player Room", the game assists you by teleporting you to a group of players working on the puzzles, but in other cases its tough luck. There's a two-player quest that's linked to progression in another quest, so if both participating players don't have the same amount of progression in that other quest, they can't do the multiplayer one together. Thankfully, the quest I'm referring to is not required for progression in the main game, but it can be frustrating if you like to explore side quests.

With any multiplayer game, there is the issue of trolls ruining co-op, but surprisingly I don't think this is an issue Sky has — or if it does exist, it is minimal. I feel this is a strength of Sky's nonverbal multiplayer. When you have a front-and-center chat function, it can be easy to direct bad energies to other people, but in Sky the main form of communication is through calls and emotes. The intentions of other players becomes ambiguous but alluring. The only chat functions I believe Sky has is between friends and through benches. To elaborate on the bench part: throughout the worlds of Sky, there are benches with candles you can light. When you light the candle, you and another player can chat directly by sitting on the bench until the candle burns out. There are also some areas that allow you to sit with more than just one other player, but these are less common.

I feel this kind of system works great for Sky as it makes all the moments where you do get to talk to other players more special, and if you don't like what the other player is saying to you, you can just leave. I shudder to think of an alternate universe where Sky players can chat anywhere and to anyone (if you have played any amount of Roblox, you should know this feeling).


The most amount of story this game explicitly gives you is in the very beginning of the game, where under the aligned stars, Spirits thrived until a darkness caused stars to disappear from the sky. From there, the rest of it is for you to figure out through exploration, but even then the clues (often in the form of murals, from what I've found) are cryptic and leave a lot to the imagination. As a creative, I think this is a strength of the game, as leaving the lore to be a bit loose allows players to make their own interpretations of the story without it being truly obstructive of the source material.

I think that even if you don't explicitly look for story clues, you'll still get a lot of the major story beats just from playing and taking note of the environment as you progress.

Post-Game and Additional Content

Post Game

While most free-to-play games tend to go on forever, Sky does have an end... Kind of. The end I'm talking about is when you've explored the game's main realms at least once, but this is not to be confused with doing a 100% run of the game. This is because full completion of the game is not possible in just one playthrough.

Even after you 100% the game (which will honestly take a while), there's also content that gets added after your first playthrough of the game, mainly in the form of additional Spirits to find.

Seasonal Content

To keep the flow of content going, Sky employs a sort of season pass system. A season lasts a little over two months, and after the first season ends, the next season later follows.

During these seasons, the game offers new emotes, themed cosmetics, and placeables which can be unlocked by offering seasonal candles (or sometimes regular candles), a season-specific currency, to Spirits. Seasonal candles are earned through daily tasks, and you can earn up to 4 candles per day, and around 300 candles per season.

Like other games that employ the season pass system, there is a paid route that allows you to get more items at a reduced cost.

I don't really like the implementation of season passes in other games, but where I think Sky succeeds is in its pacing, awards, and gameplay loop. The quests you do in order to earn seasonal candles don't feel tedious since most of them are geared around exploration, which is a joy to do in Sky. The only times I've been frustrated with them were when I didn't know where a specific area was supposed to be — but that can easily be looked up. The length of the seasons lately also keeps the game from feeling too fast-paced.

There is also always something in it for free-to-play players. With smaller seasons (only 4 spirits) I've found its possible to unlock a total of 7-ish cosmetics, but with seasons having 6 spirits that number could be higher. The point of this isn't actually how many cosmetics players can unlock, but rather what varieties. Cosmetics in Sky can be split up into several categories: Body, mask, cape, and hair. The free cosmetics fall into each category at least once, whereas in other free-to-plau games I feel like they'd only let you unlock one cosmetic type for free, but leave the rest for paying players (for example: an alternate universe where Sky only lets free players unlock masks, but are otherwise unable to unlock capes, bodies, or hair without paying). Even if free players have to work harder, I am glad they still have the option of different kinds of cosmetics.

Travelling Spirits

This bit gets its own little section because of how delighted I was when I found this feature existed. In other games, one of the motivating factors for players to indulge in a season pass is that once the season is over, the content offered is gone forever. With Sky's travelling spirits feature though, this isn't completely true. Around twice every month, a random Spirit from a previous season returns, allowing players to trade with them and unlock their cosmetics.

As someone who doesn't always have the energy to play games, or if I just drop in late, I'll always appreciate it when games bring back old content for new players. Speaking of which...

Old Content for New Players

I think ever since the Season of Enchantment it's been common for new seasons to add a sub-area dedicated to the season, but what happens to those sub-areas once a season ends? They don't get removed, and they become content for new players to explore. You can only interact with one Spirit in these old season areas, and they no longer offer items from their respective season, but they're a great way to trade for hearts (another game currency). These seasonal areas also have collectibles in them, giving further incentive to revisit them.


Sky is a delightful game. Playing it, even as you become more experienced with the game, doesn't feel tedious and the multiplayer aspects aren't painful to play through (most of the time). While there is an ending to the game's base content, there's plenty of incentive to keep playing, such as full completion of the game, new content from season passes, and old content from seasons passed!

I'd definitely recommend Sky, but I may also update this article once I've been playing Sky for a longer term.