Skies Above

Er. Fifteen minutes in, and this is not at all a typical DiBianca puzzle-box. No puzzles at all, so far. Pretty hilarious though. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen mini-games in a turn-based text-based fashion like this. Mocking little free-to-play games, I guess? Looking forward to seeing where it goes.

Edit: I mean, any game where you get to pilot an airship called the Rutabaga must be good, right? :wink:


OK, I got to the end. Very solid. I love that during the mini-games you just press the keys and they act immediately: you don’t have to press enter afterwards like you would if they were parser commands.

It is DiBianca-ish in that there are lots of things to do after the “end” of the game. And in that a lot of the minigames are puzzles and some of them are hard enough puzzles that I haven’t figured them out. But solving the puzzle gives you extra bonuses: they aren’t required to progress. Also as usual, it’s very light on story but what is there is silly and fun.

It feels a little like a short-form incremental game like SpacePlan: you get one level of achievement, and then you have to get 10x that much, or whatever. But it’s well enough balanced that it only gets a little tedious toward the end, and there are enough random rewards that I was still waiting to see what would turn up next. And hanging on for, “oh, maybe with a little more data I’ll figure out the pattern behind this mini-game.” So I didn’t mind the grind too much.

It took me maybe three or four hours. If you ignored the puzzly bits and just pushed through you could probably just about do it in two? I dunno.

But yeah. Very solid, very polished, very fun if you enjoy the genre. Well done!

Edit: Oh, also I should say that this is one of the rare games where it works great to refer to locations by name. They have no particular spatial relationship, so there are no directions in the game. There are three-letter abbreviations and it’s fairly well implemented (you can get to the Museum of History by typing “mus” or “his” or “museum” or “history”), but I did wish once or twice that any unique prefix would work: e.g. for some reason my brain wanted to type “sher” instead of “she” for the Sheriff’s Office.


If anyone else is playing this, I’ve figured out the Laboratory (and I worked out the Spa details), but I’m still stumped on the Geysers and could maybe use a hint. I’m probably trying to make it more complicated than it is, since that was true of the Laboratory puzzle, and one of the ones in The Wand, and the final puzzle in the Temple of Shorgil.

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Partial solution to the Geyers. (I’m not taking much credit, used the hint from the rumour shop):

The next geyser to erupt is the one that starts with the letter with which the current geyser ends. If Chirtoff erupts, you need to type F. And so on. This doesn’t always work, so there must be an additional trick. But is works often enough to be useful.

Solution to the Printle Factory

Everything that starts with ‘metal’ must be Tightened, everything else must be Drilled.

Not quite the solution to the Spa

I thought it was this: go from the shortest activity to the longest, in terms of number of letters. But it doesn’t always work.

Solution to the Spa: you can buy a hint from the rumor shop. Supposedly you want to order them from “milder to wilder”, with music being first. I believe the full list is music, lights, aroma, fanning, vitamin, beverage, joint work, inversion, contortion, dunking.

I believe the principle of the Lab is that some descriptions require the red button, and if none of those are present, then you press the green one. My list of red descriptions is:

  • smoke (any amount or color): you can buy this as a rumor.
  • sparking occasionally: ditto this one.
  • popping (any volume).

  • bouncing wildly (and maybe gently too?).

You can buy a couple rumors for the Orchard, but I had figured most of those things out by the time I got there. I think there are only two or three tree types that are worth bothering with. I’ve been doing only average and droopy trees. With average trees, wait for two cherples: they always come fairly quickly but after that it’s more random. With droopy trees, wait for three. I believe (there’s a rumor) that symmetrical trees use the same delay for the first two cherples, so there’s probably some strategy like wait for two or three turns and if you get a cherple, wait again for the second one? But I haven’t been able to be bothered with that. There’s an achievement for finishing the orchard in 48 turns but I think you have to get fairly lucky for that.

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I wrote Skies Above, and I want to request some particular feedback about it.

If you have played it, I’d like to know which activities you enjoyed the most, and which ones you enjoyed the least. (Of course, other comments are welcome too.)

I’d prefer it if you would PM me or send an email to a_dibianca at yahoo. Thanks!

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I’m trying to get all the achievements so far I have all of them except the one for “Time Passes”. I assume it has something to do with the “wait” command, but i’ve tried waiting a lot (20+) in basically every room of the game without even getting a partial progress tag. Maybe It is instead somehow related to finishing the main plot in the fastest time possible which i also haven’t done (my record is 27 turns).

If anybody has some insights that would be awesome, or if somebody wants to know how to get the other achievements let me know. Most are not too difficult to figure out, though Brave Souls can be pretty tricky if you don’t save your fruit.

Hrm. I don’t know if I can hint without completely spoiling it…OK, try these. It is about time passing, but there is something you’re overlooking. It is also cumulative, like Quitter or Slayer. Stronger hints: it is probably harder to get if you’re better at the game and strong spoiler there are different units of time and it’s cumulative like Quitter or Slayer. The exact achievement is Reach Day 120.

I have everything except Brave Souls, Shiver Me Timbers, and Three Million. In reverse order, I’m guessing you need three million floatrons in one day, so save the doubling juice for late in the game (?), I haven’t figured out how the pirate arena works (does aiming or evading actually make any difference?), and I have no idea what Brave Souls is about. I wasn’t going to play much more, so I’d appreciate hints on those two.

Have you gotten the black box? Is there any good way to make money? I thought maybe taking relics to the museum would be that, but the couple times I tried it, it seemed fairly worthless.

Oh, never mind. I found the two big cash bonuses, and got the Brave Souls achievement. Now I’m just missing Shiver Me Timbers.

I also realized that the factory payout goes up by 8% every time you do it (if you don’t quit immediately), so it’s not as irrelevant as I thought.

Edit: Ah, ok, got the last achievement. So that’s what happens at the Town Square. I wondered why it didn’t seem to have any purpose. But I’m still not sure how the Pirate Haven works. Bigger and slower ships are easier to hit, but I still can’t really tell if evading or aiming makes any difference whatsoever.

Can anyone help me with the Tutti frutti achievement? I got six fruits: I bought the orange and watermelon, got the pineapple and cantaloupe from the spa, the lemon from the plant and the banana from the mine. What am I missing?

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Ooh. That one I really don’t think I can hint without spoiling. Are all the fruits in your inventory, or did you do something with them?

Edit: oh, maybe I should include the full solution just in case: you have to give them to Melba.

Okay thanks. I kept all those six fruit in my inventory and tried giving them to esmeralda, because something happened after the third one. But nothing happened after I gave her all fruits so I restored.

I had a lot of fun playing this one. I’ve posted a review of it on my blog.

I’ve written a brief “strategy guide”. (I intended to put it on the IFDB page, but I forgot you can’t load text files there!)

Here it is. Feedback is welcome.

skies_above_guide.txt (7.6 KB)

Update: A slightly revised strategy guide is now at the IF Archive, and it’s linked from the IFDB page.


For the Three Million Achievement, it’s probably worth mentioning that the easy way is to save the Doubling Juice until you have a total of at least 1.5 million floatrons.