In the far future, Earth has been ruined by an ecological disaster. Human life became unsustainable and humanity was forced to leave. Dust clouds cover the land, with only high-rise buildings providing any sort of refuge.
An investigation team visiting Earth has lost contact, and you need to investigate what happened. All you know is that they were investigating the cure for a deadly virus, and the cure isn’t complete. When you arrive on the planet, you discover the crew is dead. The only survivor, Noah, has run off somewhere. You need to chase him down and find out what happened, while staying alive long enough to reach him.
Forever Skies is a survival game, and it makes that crystal clear at the beginning. Your health meter, hunger, thirst and fatigue meters are ticking when you land, and you need to find supplies quickly. You will scavenge supplies from the first base you land on, then make your way towards other locations to sustain yourself.
The trappings of a story are there, but the Early Access nature puts a larger focus on the survival aspect. Once you are able to build engines and fly a ship, you will be in a sandbox mode where you can freely travel to other buildings. You will then repeat the process of scavenging supplies to sustain yourself and possibly build a small camp for shelter.
The remains of buildings and the investigation team won’t provide too many supplies for long. You will have to build technology to harvest materials, then create the tools you need to survive. Dying of hunger or thirst is common, but you can also suffer the effects of fatigue or get sick. Anything can go wrong while you are getting used to your environment, which forces you to think of how you are going to survive and experiment.
Survival isn’t just about grabbing everything that you can though. What fresh produce you can get from plants can rot, while water is often dirty and hazardous to drink. You have to make crucial decisions about leaving food sources for later, or taking the risk to gain precious few seconds. These decisions highlight the dangers of the world, and do a great job of making you carefully consider your options. Or in the event of an emergency, you can do whatever it takes to survive and try to get healthy later.
“Survival is literally living out of your ship while you explore.”
You are able to create some basic technology to help you create an encampment. Foundational materials are everywhere, and you never have to worry about running out. You can build a bed, a water purifier, even grab a cooking station to make nutritious treats. For calories, you can create lures which can capture insects, giving you a renewable supply of food.
The only problem is that object placement can only be done near your ship right now. It feels like you are living out of your car, and aligning your ship properly becomes important since you can’t build anywhere else. It can dampen the survival experience, because there isn’t an incentive to leave your ship and explore much.
Exploration is also slow and unfulfilling, as you are only able to fly from building to building. You can’t go too high or past the dust clouds, limiting the number of places that you can go to. Survival feels like going from building to building, challenging yourself on your ability to survive there.
Thankfully, the game’s potential as a survival game is solid and it is fun to establish yourself in the beginning. Exploration past the dust clouds, along with future options for combat, promise to make the survival experience more harrowing and intense. Trying to survive in the beginning is already tough enough as it is, though it’s peaceful when you manage to succeed. When you have a reason to explore and leave your safe confines, that’s when the survival experience can be taken to the next level. Expanding on the story is one method of doing it, but opening up new areas of exploration and new resources will do the job as well.
There’s still a lot of intrigue and parts of the full game that were unavailable to us in this preview. If the full experience can take the foundations laid out here and expand upon them even further, it certainly has a lot of potential.
Forever Skies will leave Early Access in 2022 on PC. You can check the game out on Steam.