Abertay University runs a game development competition called Dare to be Digital. With the help and support from industry professionals, teams of up to eight students put together prototypes for new games. Each year in August, these prototypes are presented to the public and fellow game industry veterans, who then vote for their favourite. In 2016, eight indie game developers put together a prototype that eschewed the industry's love of violent video games. That prototype was for a relaxing exploration title aimed at young children and it won the team, now known as Puny Astronaut, the competition. Allowed the opportunity to develop the prototype further through their honours year, the game that evolved from that is Skye
Players assume the role of brightly coloured and friendly flying dragon. When a bell awakens him from hibernation in his bohemian and also very brightly coloured cave, he needs to find his way back to the surface. The controls are incredibly simple with player actions limited to normal movement, a dash that can also be used to break objects, and interaction with items. There is no time limit at any point in the game as the aim of the game is to allow players to relax and appreciate the beautiful world they're in. This means that players are also free to move around the level as they please.
Outside, players encounter a friendly wizard who needs assistance. The valley has been in an autumnal state for too long and he needs to cast the spell of spring. This can't be done until you've found the five locals, who are dotted around the level, and completed their various tasks. As the game is aimed at children starting from the age of six, these tasks are far from complicated and range from waking up the local by completing a four colour sequence, to searching the level for flower seeds to grow new plants for the florist. All five of the villagers are shown on a map, as well as all of the areas that players need to search to complete their tasks, meaning that young children always have a helping hand nearby if they need it. For a more challenging playthrough, you can choose to completely ignore the map alternatively.
As well as completing the tasks, there are plenty of little toys spread around the level for players to try. The dragon can turn water wheels, create plumes of petals by floating through flower beds, and brush past chimes made out of crystals or giant hanging piano keys to create a tune. There is also a number of acorn collectibles that are hidden in the level and unlike the level's main objectives, these collectibles are not shown on the map. They're hidden in places that reward those who take the time to explore the level fully. Despite completing all of the level's objectives and returning to the wizard to cast the spell of spring, I found just two of the level's six acorns.
Another level in the game, which wasn't on display at EGX but has been seen previously
, allows players to investigate a coastal village where a pirate needs help to find his golden treasure. Here you'll be able to swim deep below the surface of the water and meet a variety of sea creatures, from the jolly smiling seals to the seagulls that will perch anywhere. If a simple relaxing game takes your fancy, both of these levels will be inviting players to explore when the title is released for Xbox One in Q1 2018.