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Forever Skies Early Access Review – A Great Start

Forever Skies is a first-person survival game from developers Far From Home and is set on a post-apocalyptic Earth. You play as a scientist who has returned to Earth to find out what happened to humanity after an ecological disaster has poisoned the landscapes, creating a toxic cloud that has blanketed the ground. You must use your airship to explore the ruins of civilization and find the resources you need to survive. The game will release on Steam early access on June 23 and it’s already a lot of fun, albeit with some grind involved in researching and scavenging for parts.

The game is a mix of survival, crafting, and exploration similar to Raft, Green Hell and Subnautica, but with a sci-fi twist and starting above this toxic cloud. Starting in your crashed ship, you must search and scavenge for resources, find a scanner and then scan elements and debris in order to learn about the world, and the dangers it entails. It’s a survival game at its core, so you will need to look for food that doesn’t poison you and drink clean water. You can eat any old food or drink dirty water, but alien diseases are rife. You can learn to craft cures, but you will need to do the leg work in researching, scanning and crafting the food.

Eventually you’ll find enough resources and blueprints to be able to build and repair your airship. This enables you to take to the skies and navigate your way around the toxic cloud, looking for lights that act as navigation markers as your peripheral vision is pretty much blind beyond a few feet around you. There are blue and orange lights which indicate different types of platforms such as turbines, green houses and more. Each new location I found had different materials available to scavenge. Of course, as you explore, you’ll encounter hostile creatures, and you’ll need to use your weapons and tools to defend yourself. To be able to travel further distances, you will need to upgrade your airship. This requires a lot of resources and research.

You have to research and reverse engineer airship technology upgrades before you can add more things to it, otherwise the weight is too much, and your ship won’t take off. This is where I started to hit a grind and progressively more stop gates. By this I mean I thought I had all the resources needed to craft components to add a room or upgrade the balloon, but I found out I needed a specific piece of technology. For example, I had previously used a circuit board that I found to build something to help me at that point in time. My mistake was that I should have used that first circuit board to research it in order to be able to create them on demand. It was completely my fault that I had to go back to a wind turbine and find another to research it.

Another aspect that started to wear me down several hours in were the survival mechanics. I was playing on normal difficulty and was forever having to repair things and keep myself alive which takes away from exploring the game a little as it is rinse and repeat constantly. It is a survival game after all and compared to others like Green Hell, its much less hardcore survival, but enough to add some grind and repetition to the general loop. I always made sure I was stocked up on what I thought were essentials before moving to the next area, only to get there and I didn’t research something. At one point I needed a virus but in order to make this zed virus I had to retrace steps to get materials to be able to get through the next section.

Forever Skies is in early access so regular updates are expected from the developers over the next year. “The Early Access version will offer plenty of mechanics and activities to play within a vast world ready to be explored, all of which will engage players for many hours. You may experience some technical bugs and in-game problems which we are planning to find and fix before the full release. The Early Access version may lack some additional features at the start like co-op for example, which we intend to add as quickly as possible, after the launch of the EA version. In addition, along with EA, we are planning to add additional modules to expand your airship, garden, locations to explore and more.”

Inspiration for the game’s world of a thick layer of toxic dust and the skies above has been drawn from various comments of scientists on air quality in Cracow, Poland. The historic city is also known for its pollution, regularly competing head-to-head with places such as Beijing, Delhi or Lahore. Apparently, to access totally safe and breathable air, residents should elevate above 100m, hence the idea that humanity would build these massive towers as their last-ditch attempt to survive.

Forever Skies is amazingly detailed and while the world has become a toxic wasteland, it’s very well designed and the thick fog beckons you to explore further. Gameplay is challenging but rewarding and there’s some grindy elements if you’re stuck looking for particular items or technology. If you’re a fan of survival games like Green Hell and Subnautica, then you’ll definitely want to check it out.

This early access review utilised a key provided by Far From Home and Forever Skies will launch on Steam early access on June 23 for us in Australia. Console versions are in development for a future release.


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