Legend of The Skyfish

Legend of The Skyfish is a beautiful level-based adventure puzzler with a unique weapon and tool - a fishing pole!

Follow the intrepid Little Red Hook on her journey with the Moonwhale to defeat the monstrous Skyfish. 

this is an adventure game initially designed for mobile devices. later it was ported through different devices and platforms. now it can be found on Steam, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Android, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, iOS, Windows Phone, PlayStation Vita. 


-level designer with focus on puzzle
-made in Unity


the history here is my version of the facts. 

this doesn't mean that there is a controversial story behind this game. but that I didn't ping pong it back and forth to the other people that worked on this game.

the game was made by Mgaia Studio, a small brazilian company. indie company, countryside located. small budget, even smaller deadlines. this, of course, had a huge impact on the design and scope of the game.

the focus was to make something casual for mobile players. the game has some combat involved, some puzzle, and a few bosses fights to put this "casual player" skill to test. the game elements had to justify the fishing pole that the avatar has.


i worked as a level designer. around one third of the level was made by me. this includes designing the puzzles, as well enemies positions and prop placement. the challenge on this project was: we have a small budget and a really short deadline. even more than usual. so we didn’t have too much time to prototype and try out new mechanics to create new variations and dynamics. 



this is a personal and general method to all projects involved here. to design a level requires at least two things: the level essence and what is require to give form to its matter.

the level "raison d'être" is to have a clear goal of why you are designing such a level. is it to explore a mechanic? is to teach a new concept? is it to design around a specific experience, such as a fast paced level?

when the high pitch for the level is set, then comes the part to stress the mechanics that were selected to be part of the level. to find the combinations with different elements. to see how the controllers feel when interacting with it. to find the design space for creating the level.


now, knowing how the pieces works it is time to give form to the high concept. to do that, I have in mind the level of difficulty, pace, and challenges variations.

during this part of the work, I also take into consideration where the level is placed in the overall game - in the beginning of a campaign, in the end, or right before a boss. normally, you don't want to have the same difficulty feeling or to demand the same amount of attention in a longer section.


besides the target audience, casual mobile players, shaping how complex the puzzles and levels can be, other specificities must be taken into account.

the game will be played in devices with different screen dimensions, and therefore gameplay elements as the turrets, must still work being "outside" the screen.

this make it necessary, when designing, to always rearrange the elements to announce what is coming next to the player. designing this way helps the different parts of the same level to maintain a connection, instead of feeling like a series of mini challenges.

after the level is "done" the rest of the team plays it. they give feedback on it, and if necessary (normally it is) some re-work must be done. later, with more levels done, we try them all with playtesters (in that point it was just random friends and family), and make a general evaluation of things that worked or not. the ideas that worked can then be more explored, and the ideas that didn't, i evaluate and locate where the problem occurs to give it a second try or to completely discard.


after the level is done, the prop placement comes. this is important not only to give the game the look it needs, but also to properly place the props without polluting the elements that need clear identification. otherwise, the player might not notice what is required from them in order to solve the level.


thank you for reading :)


marcel barboza

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