Forever Skies is a first-person post-apocalyptic survival game. Return to Earth, ravaged by an ecological disaster. Fly, upgrade and customize your mobile high-tech airship base. Scavenge resources to survive, face dangers on the surface and hunt for viral pathogens to cure a mysterious illness.
Reviewed on: PC (Intel i5-9400F, @2.90GHZ, RTX 2060, 16GB RAM)
Also available for: N/A
Developer: Far From Home
Publisher: Far From Home
I was eager to return to Forever Skies after my previous dalliance, with the first hour of the game leaving me wanting more. Now in Early Access, the game offered me a lot more time floating above the dust, exploring the ruins of skyscrapers and eventually venturing below the harsh dust layer. The mood and atmosphere remain top-class, and experiencing that is the primary reason for you to jump into the game at this stage in Early Access. People looking for dozens of hours of survival would be best waiting for a few more patches before boarding the airship.
Forever Skies started much the same as I remembered, as you disembarked from a landing pod in the ruins of a skyscraper. Greeted by the remains of previous expeditions, you set off, scanning all you can and moving on to make the airship take flight. Leaving the first tower of your ship is a simple design; one room consisting of an engine out the back, a resource extractor on the deck for gathering materials and little else. By the time I had played my fill, my airship had increased exponentially and was home to a kitchen, a bedroom and a manufacturing room. Several times I could dismantle what I had built and start my build from scratch. A convenience I was thankful for as I lacked the foresight to be making minor changes to meet my ultimate goal along the way.
The fact that it was an airship I was building that would be my companion on the voyage across the skies made me more attached to upgrading it. It was not just a place I returned to fabricate new items. It was also my vessel to get me between the ruins of towers. Given the procedural generation of the world, it feels good never to be anchored in your exploration to a single spot. Building and expanding the ship generally worked well, with slight stiffness in the controls to place your rooms, walls and equipment. The current offerings also felt utilitarian in their customisation, though I largely ignored the painting system and preferred to keep my vessel reasonably spartan.
The main cycle of Forever Skies involves:
Sailing your ship above the dust.
Discovering towers and pillaging them for materials and blueprints.
Using these to expand your airship capabilities.
It is a relatively simple loop, but thanks to the atmosphere at play in the game, I am yet to tire of it, as the eerily quiet nature of the towers had me nervous with anticipation of what I might have found amongst the towers’ ruins. These towers currently come in several archetypes, each housing different materials to harvest. Some are simple communication towers, good for some scrap and batteries and do not take long, whilst others were former greenhouses, packed to the brim of food and fuel sources that take several trips to scavenge fully. Climbing the towers is also straightforward; ladders and stairs guide you up, with small jumps occasionally required.
The tower’s final form to be found in the current state of Forever Skies was the one to take you down below the dust. After hours in the skies and becoming comfortable in them, the nervous anticipation crept in again as I boarded the elevator down. Before this, I had only had to manage energy, hunger and thirst, which were simple tasks to stay on top of once in the swing of it on the normal difficulty I was playing on. Down below, the air was not breathable, adding another management system. Only able to journey out minutes at a time, I scavenged the newfound materials and expanded my ability to move about safely. The eeriness was ramped up below the dust, and constantly dwindling oxygen levels resulted in more considered exploration of the area and its new resources.
As an Early Access release of a survival game, Forever Skies stakes its claim with its take on the gameplay loop, held up by the setting and unearthly atmosphere Far From Home has created. However, it also does not shake all the baggage of Early Access Survival games, with the technical state being playable with frequent frame drops and a small helping of jank. The current level of content is not enough to draw you in for dozens of hours of surviving. However, if you are intrigued by existing and exploring in this desolate post-apocalyptic world, the current offering may keep you happily soaring above the dust.