The best Alexa skills developed on Storyline

As part of the mass movement towards voice-technology services, a number of development platforms have popped that allow non-coders or those with only a passable knowledge on coding, to create their own skills for Alexa.

One of these is Storyline, developed by Vasili Shynkarenka and Maksim Abramchuk.

Storyline, like other tools of its ilk, are still in its infancy, and still cannot utilize the ability of Alexa as well as a coder could.

But if the most popular skills on Alexa are any indication, its content and not complexity that listeners respond to.

With that in mind, here is an attempt at a definitive list of the best skills developed on Storyline, in no particular order, so far are:

Story Time

Pros: Wildly different stories each time

Cons: Hearing stories back to back may reveal underlying logic, voice is a bit off for storytelling purposes

The advertising is quite bold. It says a different story EVERY time. No qualifiers, no small text saying ‘well maybe not every time’. And I couldn’t prove it wrong during testing.

The developer, using a popular feature of Storyline as you will discover as we go deeper into the list, creates a story out of many parts, each with enough random options that you’ll likely never hear the same option for the same section, but still held together by a strong enough thread that they are almost seamless most times.

Hearing stories back to back does have the problem of revealing the underlying logic to older kids, but remains enjoyable to those that don’t like to wait for story-time for a bit of fun.

Star commander

Pros: Good use of recorded tracks, sound effects

Cons: Missions can become repetitive

A fun skill for budding space explorers. It gives you a few choices to increase your engagement but is mainly for you to experience rather than decide the fate of a fictional hero in space.

Makes use of Storyline’s easy integration of mp3 sounds and Amazon’s own library of sounds to good effect

Crabby Dance

Pros: great reusability, parents and kids can use together

Cons: None

A cute little skill aimed at kids when a tantrum is imminent. A nice recorded track plays with fun carribean music and instructions on how to dance like a crab, sea lion and … you get the idea.

It’s got the right sounds to get kids and their parents to dance silly and who was in a bad mood again?

Discipline the kids with fun

Pros: Are there many better alternatives — might as well let Alexa take a swing, uses a tone that kids respond to, persistent options

Cons: May not work — if that can really be termed a con

A fun skill to use when kids in the house simply refuse to listen.

Inspirational Quotes

Pros: Pretty extensive, gives a boost as advertised

Cons: Overstays its welcome some times

What’s better than a skill that gives you one inspirational quote on invocations. A skill that gives you 3 in a quick combo.

It uses the simple way provided by Storyline to provide random replies for a quote, either using the option within the tool or using its ability to integrate data from Google sheets.

Topped off with greetings, it gives you a good little kickbefore taking on the rest of the day.

The 80s Arcade

Pros: Excellent immersion, wonderful use of sound integration

Cons: Not for people who for some reason hate the 80s(?), games within the skill utilize Alexa’s voice instead of continuing the excellent recorded voice for the primary setting

One of the best features of the Amazon Echo is to transport the listener to another time and place by the use of sound, without what is sometimes the distraction of video (unless you’re a fan of the Echo Show, in which case video is just great. I like what you like friend).

This skill is made with just that thought in mind, as it in the first 30 seconds takes you to the setting of the skill, an 80s arcade.

Once the intro is done, you can choose from among several arcade style games, thus making it feel like more than one skill.

The games within are of the make-your-own-adventure type, and makes full use of what I believe is Storyline’s strongest feature: the ability to map out a logical flow while incorporating user input.

Baby Lullaby

Pros: Simple, effective

Cons: None that I can see

It’s a simple but effective skill that plays a lovely lullaby once the kid or parent says ‘Good night’ to Alexa, after invoking the skill.

Easy to implement, but popular and effective,

Healthy Habits

Pros: Great set of ideas

Cons: limited use

A great little skill, that again use the functionality of storyline of choosing randomly from a set of replies, to recommend healthy habits the listener can adopt for a healthier lifestyle.

Took off quickly because it is a pretty universal concern, and easy to use.

Forest Survival

Pros: fun story, loads of user interaction

Cons: Voice could use some work for better immersion, sound effects would greatly enhance experience

Magic door is the king/queen of the guided adventure. But the beauty of the genre is you can enjoy as many as you have time for.

Forest survival is another commendable addition to this growing group that taps into all the best parts of alexa — sound, user interaction.

Freeze Dancers

Pros: Great for parties or just for play-time

Cons: None worth mentioning

A simple skill, great when kids get together for fun or for parties

Alexa plays a sound, and when the music stops, everyone freezes. Simple, but fun.

My African Safari

Pros: Excellent immersion, great use of recorded audios

Cons: Recorded voice for narration would enhance the experience but this is nitpicking really

One of the early stars of Storyline in its current avatar, this skill takes the listener through an excellent trip through the African savannah.

Great use of mp3 tracks to immerse the listener. And utilizes Storyline’s ability to map out a logical flow and incorporate user interactions to pick the route.

Soccer Drills

Pros: Great for practice on your own or as a competition

Cons: gives too much info in one go during selection phase

A fun little skill for those in need of a semi-pro soccer instructor. Gives listener a selection of soccer drills that Alexa can walk you through.

And the kicker, the skill was made by a 7-year old kid. If ever you needed a solid argument for the ease of use of Storyline.

That’s our round-up of the best Alexa skills made using Storyline. The names of skills we tested were sourced from Vasili’s (one of the founders) own blog on medium. So make sure to check that out.

Or if you’re already sold on the idea of making your own skills for Alexa, and Storyline is the right tool for you, here’s where you can get started.

It now comes with a very friendly community on Facebook, teeming with people ready to help all newcomers and existing members.