Gathering Sky (iOS) Review

By Sandy Wilson 05.02.2017

Review for Gathering Sky on iOS

Gathering Sky is the brainchild of development studio A Stranger Gravity. Upon its release, it was awarded many industry prizes for its music and the experience it offers. Be forewarned: this isn't an actual game; it is more of a peaceful project. There is no goal, no real challenge - just a lovely journey across the skies. What the developer has made here is a relaxing experience that, with managed expectations, could prove to be very enjoyable. Enough of the chit chat, though, and let the high-flying voyage commence. After looking at the PC and Android versions, now it is time to dive into the iOS edition.

If Flower on PlayStation floats your boat, then this app should scratch that mobile itch. The goal is simply to guide a flock of birds through each map. Similar to the aforementioned petal-fest, the flock begins with a single bird and gradually, as players explore, more birds join the group, leading to guiding a giant flock as they swoop and dive through the various levels.

It's extremely easy to play. All that's required is a single finger to guide the hapless birds on their wind-fuelled adventure. The user interface is minimal; during play it will show a pause button at the top left and a light ring where the touch is being registered. This makes it very easy to enjoy the atmosphere during the gameplay. Leading the birds into wind flows is advised as it speeds them up and has a satisfying visual feedback. The UI does have more features, though, and these are all revealed upon clicking pause. It includes a mute button for those more public situations, and a level select. Overall, it all feels very good, achieving its goal of being relaxing while still providing enough substance for people to enjoy.

Screenshot for Gathering Sky on iOS

Collecting the birds is extremely satisfying, especially when they are hidden within a little tracking challenge. These challenges are to follow a glowing orb, which appear in a variety of colours. The goal of these little encounters is to keep the birds in the trail left by the orb, which will loop round obstacles and change colour as time passes, before losing the trail and becoming a new bird for the group. This is the only real extra challenge in the gameplay and it's completely optional.

In general, Gathering Sky leads gamers through its levels using wind flows. Inside these, the movement speed is ramped up and this is where it is all at its most fun. However, the level design is unusual. The obstacles appear to simply be pieces of land floating in the air. It feels like a missed opportunity to be inventive and come up with interesting air obstacles. These blocks of land are the same colouration and pattern as the background of the level, which, again, seems to be lacking in details that could have made this much more immersive.

Musically, everything is amazing. It features a fully orchestrated soundtrack that, while not fully organic, does feel like it changes depending on the flock's speed. It takes an otherwise fairly typical mobile game and elevates it to a completely different level. It builds up and helps the experience provide a pay-off that would otherwise be much less 'wow' and more or less just average.

Screenshot for Gathering Sky on iOS

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

What A Stranger Gravity has here is an app that provides a beautiful soundtrack and a passable game. The music really is well done and high quality, it all runs very well, and the gameplay, although shallow, is delightful. Overall, it's a great experience marred only by its lack of challenge and goal. Well worth it's small asking price, Gathering Sky provides a reasonable replay value and a pleasing lunch break filler.

Developer

A Stranger Gravity

Publisher

A Stranger Gravity

Genre

Simulation

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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