Sunless Skies Flying High

SunlessSkies-Locomotive picture
Logo for sunless skies with a lantern of to the left of the print.
The logo for Sunless Skies.

When players start a new game of Sunless Skies, there is a gnashing of locomotive noises to greet you in this steampunk Victorian era. This is the new world that Failbetter games have created. It may be somewhat familiar to those who have played Sunless Sea but much more robust in both gameplay and atmosphere. The player starts as a crew member onboard the Orphean, a flying train of a ship that is ready to seek adventure.

In-game screen of Sunless Skies
The player’s train outside of New Winchester port.

The tutorial incorporated at the beginning of the game eases players into this bewildering place which is excellent for new players. Still, there are also explicit references back to Sunless Sea that veterans of the game will surely pick up.

In-game screen of the narrative interface of Sunless Skies
The interface for narration and exploration in Sunless Skies.

News of this sequel to Sunless Sea hit fans mid-September of 2016, a year before their Kickstarter launch. They claim inspiration for this game to be, “The science fiction of HG Wells and CS Lewis, the planetary romances of Leigh Brackett, Art Nouveau, Event Horizon, trains.” These indeed show in the game.

Since the Kickstarter’s successful funding in March of 2017, Sunless Skies became available on early access by August of that same year. As of January 2019, the game has officially released. I picked up my copy yesterday after anxiously waiting to explore and discover the rich stories included in the game while enjoying the soundtrack for each region that I come across.

Sunless Skies is available on Steam and GOG for Windows, Linux, and Mac for a special promotion sale until February 7. After that, it will return to its regular retail price of $24.99. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to sail the stars, Captain.

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