Black Skylands Preview

Revisiting: Black Skylands – an Amazing Accomplishment in Game Design

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. I revisited this game in 2023 after a couple of years to see how it is on Xbox for the Summer demo fest. Some things have been streamlined, but the same storytelling and art style is in full force. You can find my let’s play video below. There are some pictures and info in this article that were not covered in the video, so be sure to take a look here.

Get Started in Black Skylands

Skyships are a great theme in games. 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. The introduction itself, while quick, also leads into a 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 and pretty easy to get the hang of once you do a few quests.

Drums of War

Since the earlier era, a force known as “The Swarm” has caused terrible devastation to the once peaceful zones of this sky world. From what I can gather, these are sort of monster creatures. If you don’t mind blasting pixelated monsters, you’ll probably be compatible with this gameplay. We’re dealing with some pretty pleasant fantasy pixel art here though, so this was fine for me.

With that, as an action RPG, 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.

Other Thoughts

I’ve been refueling my secret love of airships since Super Mario Bros. 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. 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, and 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 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! To learn more about this game, go to the Steam link here

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