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Quite possibly the most polished and professional RPG Maker Game ever.

SkyE, by anaryu and yaomei (who comprise anamei productions, which, if it was a real company, I would submit my resume to in a heartbeat begging for a job) is the most polished and professional RPG maker game ever made. While there are other games I like better for their heart and soul, the sheer gloss and shine of SkyE make it impossible to ignore.

Let's dive right in and explore what makes this game such an impressive technical and aesthetic achievement.

-Story: 6.5/10 (3/5)-

The story of SkyE is definitely not my cuppa tea. It is light, cheery anime fair, with a bunch of attractive and upbeat characters. Even the villain could be described as chibi and kawaii.

Also, the story can hardly be called deep, and few of the characters have more than one, perhaps two, dimensions.

In spite of this, the game features an interesting plot with a substantial amount of multi-pathing, somewhat well-drawn characters (I'm not talking about the art), passable dialogue, and some fascinating, if problematic, world building.

Points are taken off for the fact that nothing about this game's world was really explained to my full satisfaction. I like the idea of sky knights, but I wanted to know more about this world you crafted, which felt problematically incomplete.

I completed the entire game without fully understanding WHAT the Chromadus (sp?), Raye energy, Rayths, or the Rayth dimension were, which is probably a bad thing. In short, this could really have done with an in-game glossary of terms, or just better, more complete (not boring and talky, though) exposition.

Also, the ending, for what it's worth, felt far too neat and tidy and happy-go-lucky for my tastes. Everything was wrapped up so nicely it was like the end of an episode of Scooby Doo.

-Visuals and Sounds: 9/5 (4.5/5)-
This game features very lush anime style visuals in cutscenes instead of sprites, really smoothly animated battle sprites and effects in its 2D side scrolling shmup inspired battle system, and what, if I am interpreting the credits correctly, is 100% original MUSIC as well.

All the game's aesthetics look/sound good, and work together to establish the game's mood and tone. And while the mood/tone- one I would call "lite anime fair"- is not one I particularly like, I cannot say it is not well established.

The music in particular, while I hated 90% of it (it seemed very J-POP inspired and I am not a fan of J-POP), I cannot say that it wasn't impressive in the extreme. I did not like most of the tracks, but they were well put together, with ASTONISHINGLY competent vocals, and if (again I might be misinterpreting the credits) the already multitalented programmers/artists of Anamei productions were ALSO producing these vocals...well, god damn. Far too many talents in one place. The one exception is the main battle music (the one with the 'rap' in the background) which I genuinely liked as well as respected.

This category does not receive a perfect score, for two somewhat nitpicky reasons:

1. Having vocals in almost every song is silly....sure the vocals are good, but think about it, what movie, show, or game have you ever seen where nearly the entire score featured vocals? And this was a score, not a soundtrack.
2. Any emotional tension I might have been feeling in some scenes was ruined by the fact that every character portrait has exactly one emotion. One particular moment stands out in my mind as un-inentionally hilarious, though I did not think to screenshot it at the time:

Celeste says to Zavia, "You seem upset, what's wrong?" although Zavia's portrait is clearly (and perpetually) smiling.

However, ultimately, in short, this is a game with HIGH QUALITY and nearly 100% ORIGINAL ASSETS, completed in just under a month and a half, which, if you think about it, is just generally ridiculous.

-Gameplay/Programming: 10/10 (5/5)-
This game's battle system blew my mind. It absolutely pushed the limits of what I thought was possible in RPG Maker (VX, specifically) and really raised the quality bar for amateur games so drastically that I now feel that everything that the majority of the community is working on is embarassingly sub-par.

SkyE is a SIM/SHMUP game. Most of the gameplay (the field screen, in RPG terms) is simply navigating menus and watching cutscenes at predetermined locations. The cutscenes unfold the game's story. In short, in terms of everything but the battles, it is identical to the gameplay of Front Mission III/IV, only unlike the Front Mission games, it receives bonus points for non-linearity.

The battles are where the game really, really stands out. Although the game has a fairly deep system of character customization featuring RPG like stats and equipment, the actual combat is a 2D side-scrolling shoot 'em up, not unlike the R-Type or Gradius games, with the exception that you can move back and forth freely throughout the level.

It is fun, addictive, totally smooth, and completely unlike anything I even thought possible with RPG Maker. It is addictive and totally satisfying and has amazing collision detection. Flying through swarms of bullets while opening fire with your rapid ring and charging up your beam crest is an exhilarting experience.

Everything about it is polished, sexy, and fun. If it was a woman, I would make sweet, sweet love to it. I'd go on, but seriously...
you NEED to play this game if only to see the battle system and stutter..."HOW THE FUCK DID THEY MAKE THAT IN RPG MAKER?"


Final Score (not an average): 9.0 (4.5/5)

SkyE raises the bar on just about everything and left me floored. This is literally up to commercial game standards. If we all produced games like this, I have no doubt that the indie gaming community, at large, would have no CHOICE but to take RMVX seriously as a platform.

I think that the developers are obligated by good conscience to release this project open source as I believe it would enrich the community and the quality of games to no end to be able to see how a masterpiece of professionalism like this was made.

Come on guys, you know I don't often gush or even cut games any slack, so you have to know that we have something special on our hands here.

Max's (V)E(r)dict: PLAY THIS SHIT NOW.

P.S. If Anamei productions goes pro and is ever looking to hire a bona fide published, degree toting writer for their staff, I sincerely hope they look no further than me because this is one bandwagon I would love to jump on.