Like Grand Theft Auto with adorable birds…in the sky. Okay, so nothing like GTA.

Indie team mounting small projects meant to remind people of eras gone by are a dime a dozen in today’s gaming landscape. But I’ll be damned if I’m not some sort of nostalgia addict, because every single time I hear about another throwback title, I get excited. With that said, indie duo Pixel Sunrise just might have something special with their sophomore title The Flight of Tyto, which looks to put a new spin on the good old days.

Following up the team’s adorable skill-building project Crazy Comet, The Flight of Tyto looks to be a much more fleshed out experience. Wherethe former was a tiny timed runner of sorts, this game dives head first into a world full of puzzles, platforming, and exploration. Players take the reigns of the titular Tyto – an owl of sorts living among a floating world full of “strange creatures and strange cultures” – as he sets out to broaden his horizons and find out what mysteries could possibly await him below the stratosphere. At first, this meant going on a journey full of places to jump, switches to hit, and Genesis-era goodness to wade through.

While much of that has been maintained as Pixel Sunrise pushes towards the final product, early focus testing found that players loved the style and atmosphere, but grew tired of the rote platforming that made up the game’s core. As a result, the developers have blown the door wide open on scope, re-tooling The Flight of Tyto to focus on exploration. Early screenshots and gameplay footage don’t quite reveal what this means, just yet, but I get the sense that there will be a host of divergent paths and goals leading to the answer of the game’s ultimate question. Finding out more about your culture, and the culture of your world’s inhabitants will likely be crucial to understanding what exists below the clouds; meanwhile, platforming and puzzle-solving are more the tools at your disposal than the bread and butter of the experience. 

The Flight of Tyto

In many ways, what appears first to be a cutesy, more peaceful take on Mario is more accurately billed as something like Fez or Where’s My Heart?; a game whose mechanics are not its mission, and in which unbound inquisitiveness is the key to success. The Flight of Tyto is set for release next summer on iOS, Android, Nook, and Kindle. 

Eager to explore the world of Tyto and friends? Be sure to download Gamezebo’s Wanna’ Play app to keep track of this and other upcoming games to be the first one notified when they release!