Black Skylands is an immersive fantasy skypunk RPG that takes place in the colorful airborne landscapes of another world. As an indie gamer, this is indeed one of the most optimistic projects I’ve looked at, and yet very promising indeed. Take the helm of a family airship and float between islands in the sky to claim your stake. This review is sponsored by a free copy through Indie Game Collective, which I am really grateful for, so let’s go!
Get Started in Black Skylands
I’ve played a few airship games here and there. It’s a very satisfying theme and allows so many directions in storytelling that it gives some creative opportunities for players and developers. Start off in an ordinary home where your father has just returned from a year-long journey. It’s a real casual introduction, aside from obtaining a gift to get you trained. Things aren’t particularly sentimental, but it turns out to be a nice quick start so you can get started on your adventures.
The home described is actually part of a community on a massive skyship of its own with markets and communities and a dock. This is no joke, we’re in the air! The introduction itself is, while quick, also leading into a pretty committed training session with an obstacle course, weapon use, and using/navigating your skyship. I found this to be very enjoyable and have to say one of the abilities, which is the ability to fire a grapple hook gun from mid-air to a ship to board is pretty darn exciting. All the game interactions are pretty engaging but and pretty easy to get the hang of once you do a few quests.
Drums of War
I don’t generally play combat games, but I make exceptions for those of exceptional design. I’m here to say there’s a little bit of everything in this game. Just when you think you’ve got it something else happens. That said, there is an undercurrent of conflict in Black Skylands! Since the earlier era, a force known as “The Swarm” has caused terrible devastation on the once peaceful zones of this sky world. From what I can gather, these are a sort of monster creatures. If you don’t mind blasting monster guts all over, you’ll probably be compatible. We’re dealing with some pretty pleasant fantasy pixel art here though, so this was fine for me.
With that, as a combat game, it’s pretty fun! And there is a lot of it as you progress. Sneak up on a swarm island and fire away with a variety of cannons that you can implement on your ship, or what you have already in your inventory. Perform aerial combat performances with other ships also.
There’s also a group of pirates that seems up to no good in the secondary scene in the game. There’s the slightly neutral claim by their leader, but it’s pretty obvious they’re up to no good. I have no doubts this plotline unravels later on.
I’ve been refueling my secret love of airships since Super Mario 3. I like that the developers categorized the genre of this game as “skypunk,” in reference to other genres of the sort like cyberpunk and steampunk. That’s pretty much what this is. There’s not a whole lot of technology in the game, although you do have a tablet. It strikes an interesting balance between renaissance naval themes and arcade-style combat. It’s a fun mix.
Black Skylands is obviously a very committed effort from the developers to create this game. Real immersion seems to occur when you enter a game and run through it because there’s so much to look at there’s almost too much to look at–which happens to be the sweet spot in some works.
Check Out Black Skylands!
So, that’s about it. It is really interesting to see some of the games I review in an early access stage before they enter the life force of the game community. I really had a lot of fun and am so grateful to be able to with such an advanced game.
Also, thank you so much to Hungry Couch Games, tinyBuild for letting me try this game. And also my friends at Indie Game Collective for making it happen! We’re working hard for developers and reviewers. I have included an IGC tagged link below to the game on Steam if you want to help us out and let them know you found it here first!
And of course, I especially want to thank YOU so much for reading MrDavePizza.com. I think you’re really going to like this game. If you have a moment, please take a look around the site here! There is tons of content just for you!