Digital Dragons Indie Spotlight: Forever Skies

Ned Jordan
In Short
Travel the skies of a dead Earth in your custom airship as you search for a cure for the planet ... and the disease afflicting your family.

Forever Skies was a pretty popular game in the Indie Zone at Digital Dragons 2023. Every time I stopped by to try to talk to the devs about their game and get a demo there were people playing the game. Luckily, I was able to squeeze in near the very end of the last day and get a look at the game.

Forever Skies is set in a post-apocalyptic future. A global ecological disaster has caused the Earth to be covered by a massive layer of toxic dust. This has rendered the planet uninhabitable and it’s been abandoned by humanity. You play a scientist who has returned to Earth, not only to discover what caused the disaster and determine if it can be reversed, but also to collect the pathogens that have evolved on the world and see if they can be used to develop a cure for the mysterious illness afflicting your family.

When you arrive on the planet, you deploy an airship that will help you keep above the toxic dust layer while you conduct your research. This airship is your transportation, your laboratory, and your home while you are on Earth, and the game will allow you to make it your own.

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Your airship is fully customizable. Using your build tool, which looks like a you’ll be able to expand the gondola suspended beneath your airship by adding rooms, platforms, and even entirely new levels. The build tool makes things really for you – just select what you want to build and aim the tool at where you want to put it. You can customize things further with the paint tool, a weapon like thing as wel,l that, you guessed it, applies textures to objects. The glass texture instantly became one of my favorites – I look forward to sailing the skies in a glass-bottomed boat. As you explore the ruins of the Earth, you’ll be able to find things here and there that you can bring back to your airship and use to decorate the place. Hmm, for so reason that reminds me that I haven’t seen WALL-E in a while, I’ll have to watch it again soon…

All of these walls and floors don’t come for free, though, and you’ll want to furnish your ship and equip it with furniture and workstations. The raw material you’ll need can be scavenged from the ruins of the world around you. As the dust layer grew, people tried to build their way above it. As you traverse the world, you’ll see the remnants of their once mighty skyscrapers and use them for sky-scrap. As you build workstations and use them to create things, you’ll gain access to higher tech, which will lead to more advanced workstations and even higher tech. And you’ll need that higher tech because all of that shipbuilding does come with a price – the more you build, the heavier you become, and it’s possible to add so much to your airship that you can’t get off of the ground. You’ll need to be able to produce additional engines, and more advanced engines as well, if you’re to keep afloat.

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The world of Forever Skies is a dynamic one, and since it is also completely procedurally generated, it will be a unique world for every player. This means that you must remain vigilant while piloting your airship. The dynamic weather system will force you to keep an eye on the skies, lest you fly into a storm and take damage from flying debris, and you never know when you’ll come across the twisted steel of a tower jutting above the dust. Airborne debris and collisions with structures can damage your ship, and you’ll need to be sure that you can find a safe spot to land and have enough resources on hand to get your ship airworthy again.

While there is base-building and crafting in the game, it is ultimately a survival game. You’ll need to monitor your energy, health, hunger, and thirst as you navigate the aerial wasteland. These needs can be addressed by furniture and workstations in your ship – a bed to sleep in, a water purifier station, etc. – but you’ll also need to learn to scavenge from the environment to meet your basic needs. And since it’s a toxic environment, you’ll need to be careful to avoid disease. At least those that will kill you, that is. You’re a scientist, so when you catch a virus, you become your own science experiment. What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger, and you’ll find that surviving a disease may give you a permanent buff. And don’t forget that your ultimate goal is to find a cure for your family’s disease, so the more you learn about combating viruses, the better.

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Forever Skies is currently on Steam Early Access, but its release window is opening soon. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, you will at some point go below the dust…

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Transmitted: 6/19/2024 7:55:28 PM