Arcen Games, the creators of A Valley Without Wind and Shattered Haven have recently released a new god game titled Skyward Collapse. As the Creator you get to build up your two civilizations of the imaginary continent Lumineth in the omniscient role while facing the challenges of large-scale cohabitation. This game stays true to the features that have become popular in the genre while at the same time adding some substantial twists to the formula. The key to succeeding in this game is maintaining balance and your victory hinges on keeping both sides alive and intact.
After a brief graphic-novel style introduction about the player’s role as the Creator and the societies that you will be developing, I jumped right into the tutorial phase. The tutorial worked nicely to explain a few complex mechanics without being too wordy or dry, which is a feat that many games try but do not accomplish. The basic gist of the game is to properly use each turn to develop your two “rival” cities in ways we are all familiar with for this genre. Pig farms, sheep pens, and bakeries must be built for food resources while also placing areas for carpenters, blacksmiths, ranches, and even fletchers around your town center to keep your people fed and safe. Just the amount of different buildings, military structures, and landscaping options make this an incredibly in-depth experience for five dollars.
For each turn that takes place in the game the various military structures will begin creating soldiers that automatically go to attack the other city. Other units are available after certain requirements are met like elves, trolls, giants, and even a trojan horse; Greek and Norse mythology play an active role in the development of your two different cultures. The challenge in this game is to continue building up your two cities and instead of gathering your forces to crush the opposition you must play both sides and keep them from destroying one another. It’s a different twist on a well-established game mechanic and once I got used to it the strategy to win began to reveal itself. A basic disaster system known as “woes” will plague each of your cities as you progress forward; floods, violent crimes, and striking guilds will all weaken the current state of your cities as you attempt to keep them together and not fall prey to the other civilization’s tools of war. Victory conditions boil down to making sure one side is never more powerful than the other and it is a satisfying experience for $4.99. Skyward Collapse is available on Steam or from Arcen Games website.