Ever heard of a “cozy” game? You may have without really knowing it. They’re relaxing, laid back, almost therapeutic titles that let you pursue cute tasks and objectives without the pressure of attacking baddies or pulse-pounding goals. Think harvesting crops in Stardew Valley or clicking exotic critter photos in New Pokémon Snap.
Skye Tales is a puzzle game thatwears its cozy moniker like a soft blanket on a rainy day. Some may view it as a purely kid-focused title. And that’s fair. But adults kicking back after a deadline-heavy day can find the light puzzles refreshing as well.
The story takes place on the cozy little island of Brinn. It’s home to a community of happy, friendly folk. That doesn’t, however, mean that these cheery citizens are all that resourceful. They rely very heavily on the help and inventive prowess of a problem-solver named Theo. But hey, even a big-brained inventor needs a break sometimes. So Theo makes plans for a three-day holiday.
Of course, Theo is well aware that his absence could cause a bit of non-cozy anxiety for his friends. So he creates an enchanted dragon called Skye, otherwise known as … you.
You’re not a sharp-clawed fire-breather, however. You’re a friendly dragon who magically floats through the sky or under the water to solve environmental puzzles, play low-pressure games, run merrily through obstacle courses and the like. Skye can pull objects, dash short distances, pluck strings, knock over blocks and even sing a little when the need arises.
The game’s charming puzzles are relatively easy in the beginning. They become progressively more difficult as Skye rolls on, but they’re never mind-boggling. In fact, each rail-connecting, rubberband-tugging, bubble-popping, shape-shifting task also comes with easily accessible hints that help point you in the right direction if you get a bit lost.
Speaking of directions, four relatively large valleys are full of challenges to clear: the bucolic countryside land of Avieshire; tropical Raina Falls; sand-swept Whispridge and the underwater vacation spot of Coastin. But one of the joys of Skye Tales is that you and Skye can head in pretty much any direction you please. There are colorful areas to visit, quests to take on, huge instruments to play and collectables to gather as you help with a spring festival, aid in setting up a concert or search out a deepwater treasure.
I should also mention that there is a digital sticker book in the mix, for those who enjoy such things. (Yeah, I saw you sit up.) And Skye can be adorned in a variety of outfits, too. Hey, if a sweet-looking dragon is fun, a sweet dragon dressed up as a duck or decorated with cake and sprinkles is, uh, funner, right?
The words “charming” and “gentle” fit this game perfectly. Skye’s world is bright and colorful, and its puzzles and activities are relatively easy. And if a challenge does stump a younger player, a helpful mom or dad can pick up the game controller and easily slip in to give a bit of aid.
Kids likely won’t notice any problems. But the repetition of some of the puzzles could leave adults a tad bored at times. Younger players might find one timed race a little difficult. And in one challenge, players must pick mushrooms for a character wearing a witch-like hat and stirring a big caldron. This character then creates several potion bottles. (The words “witch” or “potion” are not part of the action, however.)
Skye Tales is a bright, friendly, puzzle game for young players, or a low-impact bit of fun for grown-ups in search of a little “cozy” on a rainy day.
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.