Clear Skies is a platformer where you play as a woman with a bird friend. It is set in a very polluted city, and your task is to clear out the pollution so the bird can be free, as it cannot fly in heavy pollution due to the health risks it poses. The theme of fixing pollution so we can help the animals, as well as ourselves, is expressed quite nicely and the gameplay, although somewhat basic, provides more than enough enjoyment throughout the game, despite some visual issues that come with it.
Clear Skies focuses on you pressing buttons on machines that create fresh air for your bird friend to fly in. Your bird helps you get to elevated areas through flight, as you grab hold of its feet as it flies to new heights, eventually reaching a new point of pollution which you must clear out. The only issue with the flight mechanic is that occasionally the animation of the bird flying does not reach the protagonist, so there is a brief moment where the protagonist is flying without the help of the bird.
The gameplay is really lacking in mechanics. As you are only able to jump, use the bird to fly, and press buttons on machines. This wasn’t very fun, but the messaging behind the game was great. When we talk about helping the environment, sometimes we only talk about its effects on animals, while now the focus has shifted more to the imminent apocalypse we will face if we do nothing about our negative effects on the environment. When talking about the effects on animals, some just do not see this as a reason to not pollute. Clear Skies uses its gamelay to show that we, both humans and animals, benefit from a healthier environment. We can help them, and also help ourselves reach new heights. Heights we will not be able to reach if we do not stop harming the environment. Similar to how human life will decline if we do nothing.
The art is very dark and silhouette-like, and the sound design, even though it was taken from various sounds found from freesound.org, was quite fine for the small experience that it was. The art worked for the polluted and dangerous setting, and the sound design provided enough sound to make the game feel whole.
For a small browser game, Clear Skies is excellent, providing a game with nice gameplay and an important message. The sound design and some of the animations have their flaws, but Clear Skies feels like a full experience, and the developer’s usage of freesound.org made the game feel like it wasn’t missing any key components, which is a nice touch!
You can play Clear Skies free in your browser here!