The concept of a turn-based strategy game in which you have to maintain order in a war-torn world is a novel and fairly interesting one – this is the idea behind Skyward Collapse. In Skyward Collapse you play as the Creator God of the world. Your responsibility is to maintain order between the various factions and make sure they don’t wipe each other out.

It is a different take on the turn based strategy genre and as a man with a rather massive ego, the idea of the delicate balance of the world resting in my hands is extremely satisfying. Unfortunately, if Skyward Collapse is anything to go by, it would be a very dull and mediocre experience.

The main problem with Skyward Collapse is that for a God, you are, to put it simply, impotent. Whilst you have control over what buildings are placed where in a town and you can move the very earth itself – raising mountains from pleasant meadows and reducing great forests to boggy marshes – you have no real control over anything else that happens within the world.

Once a barracks is placed in a town, if the town is producing the appropriate resources then it will start churning out random units regularly. Your only way to influence what units are created is to provide the resources to the town, without them you have no actual control over the production of units. Additionally, once the units have been spawned, there is no reliable way to move them about or send them into combat, the game helpfully does all that tedious fighting and unit management for you. This is infuriating as you watch the single unit that a town has produced wander off into the wilderness to take on an overpowered bandit archer.

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Whilst there are mythical units, such as Cerberus or Elves that you can place down to help sway the battle in the favour of one side or another, you once again have no real control over what happens once these units have been placed down. Perhaps, after a hard fought battle where the hero unit scraped by with a fraction of their health they might decide that taking on the enemies nearest town would be something of a riot. Not something that is very useful of course.

Developing the towns themselves is also something of a chore, whilst the progress path isn’t entirely linear, I found myself designing each town to look identical to one another, under the assumption that making sure neither side has any real advantage would be the best way to keep things neutral. Essentially, I took the position that no progress is the most sensible way to win. Each town had pigs, a butcher, a wheat farm and all the other same utilities – quickly doing away with any novelty of building the towns from the ground up and causing one of the main elements of Skyward Collapse to descend into tedium.

The long tutorial at the start of the game doesn’t do much to help you in later stages either. It’s not that I believe that you should have your hand held through games, I’m quite fond of challenges. However as things are presented in Skyward Collapse you know very little about how to handle the latter phases of the game after the tutorial is finished. That is of course, if you can stomach getting that far.

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There’s also an extremely limited choice of things you can actually do. There are only two factions in the base game, the Greeks and the Vikings, which always have the same units and the same mythical heroes you can deploy. There is a DLC pack with an extra faction, the Japanese, however even one extra faction wouldn’t bring any true variety to the game.

The unit selection is slim and your infinite cosmic power seems to be mostly reduced to popping tiles up under different parts of the world. You’re also unable to easily redesign a city to suit your needs, I’ve found no easy way to remove buildings already placed and if one faction does manage to destroy a building it makes the tile practically useless.

Skyward Collapse has something of a visual appeal. The general aesthetic and the feel of the land tiles really do bring back memories of long nights spent playing Civ 3. The game is very pleasing to look at and the general UI design is good, everything is contained under one menu and its fairly obvious what each option is, which makes the game relatively easy to pick up and understand.

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I can appreciate what Skyward Collapse is trying to do. The concept of the game is interesting and fairly novel, however the execution is quite poor. There are other things I didn’t touch on, random events appear and powerful bandit units pop up in the forests every so often, however, none of these seem to have any great effect on the gameplay – in fact I didn’t even notice I wasn’t suppose to use any Godly powers for a period until the time was nearly up, I still don’t know what that was meant to do. Overall, there may be greater depth later in the game, but as it is it leaves me with no real desire to get further into the game, the sheer boredom of Skyward Collapse is too much for me to want to invest that much time into it.

Skyward Collapse
Pros
  • Pleasant Aesthetic
  • Intriguing concept
  • Easy to use UI
Cons
  • Quickly gets boring
  • Little interactivity
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