Black Skylands Preview – Pixel Exploration

Some games follow molds set by previous hit releases. Trends are recognized, and developers utilize these existing genres to adhere to their ideas and create unique IPs. We have all played modern combat games and retro-inspired platformers based on other hits, but every once in a while, we are gifted with a game that transcends all genres. Black Skylands is a perfect example.

Black Skylands is a top-down, skypunk, open-world pixelated action-adventure. Quickly you realize that this game follows no traditional formula. Customizable weapons, Skyboats, bullet hell style gameplay action, and town building prove this adventure makes its own rules.

Black Skylands follows the story of Eva, who is trying to rebuild her home on the Fathership while battling Kain’s Falcons to free her people from his reign. Customization is a focal point. Rebuild your hometown in any way you see fit. Customize your armories, farms, street lamps, and trees. Then, you have the ability to really make Fathership your own.

This extends to your weapons and your Skyship that aim to fit the players’ playstyle. In addition, you can enhance the attributes and utilize resources gathered from various floating islands. These resources can also be used to build factories and gardens on the Fathership. To take on Kain, you will need to explore the world, eliminate his followers and expand your faction.

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The pixelated environments are gorgeous. The mysterious Skylands themselves are a blast to explore. Vibrant forests, farms, jungles, and snowy lands add a sense of discovery to the adventure. Take part in massive sky battles in your ship amongst the clouds, and floating islands as enormous whales and creatures inhabit the backgrounds.

Gameplay is varied and exciting. Battle in your skyships against Kain’s ships, use your grappling hook to jump off your ship and explore the Skylands, taking down enemies to expand your territory. Focusing on one enemy at a time is important as fighting is fast and frantic, bullet-hell gameplay erupts as you take on numerous enemies. Switch weapons on the go or loot enemy turrets to assist in taking them all down.

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With all that Black Skylands offers, it’s hard not to find something enjoyable during gameplay. Flying Ship battles, home building, farming simulation, deep customization, and intense bullet-hell style combat. All of these genres mashed together may sound overwhelming, but Black Skylands has combined them gracefully. The open world really puts you in control, allowing you to explore, farm, gather and combat on your own terms.

Black Skylands is set to release on Steam Early Access and EpicGames on July 9, 2021.

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