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Skyward Collapse Review

Arcen Games has been a very busy company this year. On top of their continuous updates for their 4X Space Strategy game AI War, they have released their massive adventure platforming strategy title A Valley Without Wind 2, then the story driven puzzle adventure title, Shattered Haven. You have one more reason to give Arcen Games your money, it is Skyward Collapse. A board game inspired strategy title it offers a unique take on the God Game genre with strategy micromanagement. The game is very niche but shows that there are still original ideas in the gaming industry.

Up until the release of Skyward Collapse, Arcen Games was releasing a variety of comic strips detailing the lore and backstory of Skyward Collapse. These are available in the game as well as the website. They offer a stepping stone to the lore of the game because it doesn’t have a story per se. Nonetheless, you take control of a god known as “The Creator”. You must build and populate the land of Luminith. What makes this God game so cool is that you cannot control anything. You can only provide. Create gods and creatures from Greek Mythology and Norse Pantheon in an effort to even the odds between two warring factions. You must not allow one faction to destroy another.

ss_6cc2f6ff6d3455a6475732bee898c5afafed0e83.1920x1080Skyward Collapse is one hell of a strategy game. It has such a unique execution that it stands out among regular strategy titles. The gameplay is rather complicated at first even when playing through the tutorial. You are given a lot of things to build and you don’t really know what they do. The game’s learning curve is pretty steep and you will find yourself sitting on the same screen wondering, “So what do I do?” Well the goal is to last 90 turns without losing the town center of either faction. Now, there are outward events that will disrupt this goal. The main problem is bandits. They have no faction and will cause friction between the two factions and attempt to destroy the buildings you build.

The unique element of gameplay that skyward Collapse offers is the ability to control nothing and keep the peace between two factions. Many god games like Spore or From Dust allow you to control what your inhabitants do to a certain extent. But the ability to only provide is rather unique to this genre and it adds a new type of strategy that you cannot find anywhere else. There are two phases, placement and execution. Both factions have a turn to place buildings and special units, after you end both of the turns, the factions move units, create materials, and if applicable attack each other.

You can control what they build, even kill certain units/buildings if needed. You even control the landscape so you can expand on the world and try to put as much distance between the two factions as possible. Making sure they have identical buildings to keep everything even is a very nice way to progress through the game. The worlds you create can get massive and the amount of micromanaging gets really tough to keep track of.

In addition to the cool gameplay is the presentation. It plays a lot like a board game. The art style reflects that. While players will find the lack of animations to be a con, it is a unique touch to the game to make it feel different and despite being digital, play like a tabletop game. The art is not the most detailed Arcen Games has done, most likely due to the fact the game is bigger and not quite as personal as a game like A Valley Without Wind. The art is still very well done and the vibrant colors are nice to see with all the brown and grey textures developers are using for their try-hard gritty games.

ss_5265f930a3677c6682a95a4917d24be15ff92a31.1920x1080I have begun to associate Arcen Games with their unique take on strategy games, but I have started to play their games more and more due to the wonderful soundtracks. A Valley Without Wind 2 has a great soundtrack, and Shattered Haven’s music did a great job setting the atmosphere of the game. Skyward Collapse’s music has a nice mix of both, great atmosphere with a nice variety of musical styles. The music alone is a reason to pay attention to Skyward Collapse.

This game does suffer from a few faults that are not entirely the developer’s fault. Because the main audience is so focused on visuals, the lack of 3D models and pre rendered cutscenes will surely turn off the average gamer. It is sad, but it is very true. In the defense of Skyward Collapse, the game has a very personal touch and not some rehashed bullcrap that a new CoD or Halo have. That is something to be very proud of. My main problem with Skyward Collapse is the inability to keep me invested for 90 turns. While games like Civilization V last for 100+ turns, Skyward Collapse seems to have too much going on. You have to not only manage two or more cities, but build on a world all the while making sure the resources of each faction are plentiful. Games seem to last too long and it is a shame.

Despite the pacing issues Skyward Collapse has, it is still a great game for strategy fans, but not so much for the typical gamer. It is very niche in the PC gaming community but that is part of the appeal. The game is substantially cheap too despite the content it offers. You can pick it up on Steam today. I give Skyward Collapse from Arcen Games an 8.5/10.

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