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Thursday, 30 May 2013

Quick review of Skyward Collapse

I've never played a game quite like Skyward Collapse - it's part Populous, part Civilisation, and part... I don't know, like being on a see-saw!

The basic concept is that you have mighty powers to bestow on both sides of a battle - the opposing camps will continually fight each other whatever you do.  You place buildings, units, mythological creatures, even gods later in the game, can manipulate the landscape on a vast floating continent - for both sides - and you have to keep the balance.  You need to reach a certain score to at turns 30, 60 and 90 to keep playing - if one side gets too strong and annihilates the other, you lose.  If the sides are too weak to inflict much damage on each other you don't score many points, and again you lose.

Ah, I hear you say, all you need to do is give each side exactly the same thing each turn and they'll stay equal.  That's impossible, for a few reasons; firstly the sides don't have equal military / mythological strengths, so you have to take into account the side you're controlling and their units.  Then there are bandits - the come and attack whoever's nearest.  Then there are Woes - things that can affect either or both sides, which can change the playing field massively.

Then you also have the three ages - firstly the Age of Man, in which human units are the more prominent, then the Age of Monsters, where more mythological creatures might be available and even lesser gods; finally the Age of Gods, where more powerful gods (these, along with the creatures, are typically from Greek or Norse mythology), which can perform acts that really give an advantage to their side.

As a turn-based strategy game it can feel a little sedate at times, particularly in the early goes, but things soon heat up and if you're not paying attention you can easily make one or two little mistakes that can really give one side the upper hand, and in the space of a couple of turns take many more turns to rectify.

It's a balancing act where all the variables are changing constantly.  It's a really interesting game idea and, with tons to unlock and several difficulty levels, also multi-player mode (which I haven't been able to try out yet), Skyward Collapse is a unique game that will keep strategy fans busy for a long time.  I think you need to be a fan of turn-based strategy already to fully enjoy it - I'm not sure you'd have the patience if not - but certainly if you've even enjoyed the Civilisation series and similar games, you'll find this game both familiar and very, very different.  

Skyward Collapse Trailer:

Skyward Collapse Official Website

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