Review: Lila’s Sky Ark (Nintendo Switch)

Lila’s Sky Ark is a puzzle-adventure game for the Nintendo Switch. If you like your gaming a little on the quirky side, you’ll feel right at home. This little indie title includes giant chickens and leaping lizards, guaranteeing an oddly fun time.

You play the role of Lila, a young girl journeying through a strange world. Her mission is to help the forest by exploring the surrounding areas, defeating enemies, and restoring peace. She visits a giant cylindrical head known as Doctor-Father-Sir (told you it was odd) who entrusts our young heroine with this important mission.

There’s not a whole lot of narrative on offer, though Lila meets several interactable characters along the way. Whether it’s a witch needing help, a giant crow selling you odds and ends, or an oversized and untrusting monkey-like creature, there’s plenty to keep you entertained. Some of this works well, adding humor and genuine surprise; at other times it sways a little too far into the realm of quirkiness.

Thankfully, it’s also engaging enough to keep you playing. Most of your time is spent exploring, with puzzle mechanics blocking your path. These are generally intuitive to solve, though getting stuck can be frustrating since no hints are available. 

The game only provides a few simple controls: walk, dash, pick up objects, and throw objects. There’s no attack per se, although almost anything that’s picked up can be used as a weapon, from oversized eggs to crates. A lot of the environment can be tossed around and broken, sometimes offering collectible coins for item purchases (you know, from the giant crow). It’s always fun to break stuff, and this part feels a little like smashing jars in The Legend of Zelda. 

Another neat aspect is your life meter, which consists of four petals on a flower. One petal is lost after each hit you take, which can be replenished by finding more petals. You also sport a handy backpack to hold items. You can store almost anything that you can lift—from barrels to smaller enemies—though it does have a capacity limit.

The music is mesmerizing, with a neat background tune that changes depending on the area. It’s generally an upbeat, synth-infused track that helps draw you into Lila’s world. It fits in with the visual style of Lila’s Sky Ark, which is easily its best feature. The designers have crafted a dreamy world of pastel colors that gives the landscape a sense of jumping straight out of a child’s imagination.

There’s about five hours worth of gameplay on offer, giving players enough to do for an afternoon. At $14.99, it’s not bad value. However, picking it up on sale may feel more satisfying. Speaking of which, it’s currently on sale in the eShop for $10.04.

Overall, Lila’s Sky Ark is a game that sets out to be different. Exploration is key, and it’s an interesting world to traverse, to say the least. The puzzles can be equally challenging enough to tickle your brain as they are frustrating, but if you’re looking for something with a unique and creative style, you’ll certainly find that here.

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