Black Skylands PC – Early Access Preview
Black Skylands is quite the mix of genres. It’s a pixel artwork game that has action, adventure, an open-world setting, with some RPG elements mixed in. Basically, everything that checks the boxes for me lately. I’ve been hyped since we first saw Black Skylands. I mean who doesn’t want to fly airships and fight for the people? When you take off of this, and top it off with a surprisingly decent storyline? Black Skylands should be popping up on some radars.
Black Skylands is currently in Early Access from developers Hungry Couch Games. Black Skylands is really hard for me to unpack and write an Early Access Preview because there is so much going on with this “little” game. Let’s start at the base, the story. I wasn’t too sure what to expect storywise from Black Skylands and to be honest, I don’t think I was expecting much. But damn was I pleasantly surprised. You play Eva, whose Earth turned into a bunch of floating islands. These islands are called Aspya. Eva is the daughter of one of the leaders of the “Earners”. Your father and crew find something in the Black Skylands, something that will change the world of Aspya forever. I’ll leave it at that. The story is pretty well done. Decent plot and twists are involved and some fairly quickly into the story. Just to prove a point of how awesome this story and world Hungry Couch Games built, I would love to turn it into a tabletop RPG. I really think it’s that good.
Now let’s get into the gameplay of Black Skylands. It plays a lot like your normal top-down view twin-stick shooter. But then again, it also doesn’t. There are two different types of combat, ground combat, and aerial combat. On the ground, you’re loaded up with your choice of three weapons, your grappling hook, an ability, and your sweet dodging skills. Things can get chaotic if you’re not careful, luckily one of my first skills was a flame thrower you can drop to help roast some of the enemies. On the downside, it can also hurt you as well. Your grappling hook is more than for getting to island to island, you can also use it to grab enemies as well. Everything works really well, there are chests and goodies everywhere to grab and resources to get back to your ship to help to craft and customize. The aerial combat is a little slower because you have to position your ship and the recoil from your weapons can spin you around. But if you can get your ship around the islands you can shoot the enemies from afar and not even get your hands dirty. Then just grappling hook off the ship and loot freely!
Throughout your travels, you will gather new weapons, ships, and mods for each of those as well. You can get your weapons more powerful, add new wings and armor to your ships. There is a lot to want to get out and find. This is great because Black Skylands is much more than that. They have added a decent crafting system to use all those resources you find. You can make new armor and such aboard the Fathership, which is the flying fortress ship you are on. You can build workshops, factories, farms, labs, all kinds of things to help you get an edge over the enemies that you encounter. I was not expecting this depth from the game. It really allows you to expand the Fathership and gets you to want to explore everything to maximize your resources.
Resources play a huge part in this game. You need it for crafting and even traveling. You’ll need to get to the fuel ships and fill up canisters before you travel otherwise if you run out of fuel, you’re gonna have a bad time. So do you take two canisters for a long trip? Or hope you can find a fuel ship in the vicinity of where you are going? It’s a little bit of a gamble to sacrifice your cargo space for fuel. But you can’t bring back your loot if you don’t have fuel right?
Moving on to exploring. There is a decent-sized open world you will explore. The islands are usually in chunks and have little territory circles around different ones. If you go through and clear all of the enemies within that territory you will capture that area and liberate that area. Once you get deeper into the game you can form alliances and unlock things such as new characters to help and resources. It is really well done. Another great thing about exploring, it isn’t just mindless exploring. You’re clearing enemies out, you’re gathering resources, finding NPCs, and puzzles to solve. Puzzles?! Yup! they aren’t difficult, such as matching the shapes or using a scale to find the lightest to heaviest weight. Solving these puzzles will also net you some sweet, sweet loot.
Visually, this game is amazing. the pixel art is gorgeous. There are things flying above and below you at times, it truly wraps the experience up that Black Skylands brings to the table. I cannot say enough things about the visuals of this game. They are so bold and beautiful, it just pleases the eye. The details of the islands, buildings, and enemies, was such a visual treat to see.
I cannot wait to see what else Hungry Couch Games has in store for Black Skylands once it finally releases. I know I’m not the only one, it is also getting “Mostly Positive” reviews on Steam as well! Be sure to check it out if you’re at all interested, at $19.99, I feel it’s a solid purchase. https://store.steampowered.com/app/1143810/Black_Skylands/