This is a transcript excerpt covering the score awarded to Black Skylands on the So Videogames podcast, episode 352: Support SAG-AFTRA

BRAD: So I’ve talked about Black Skylands before. At least once or twice, and it’s really one of my favorite games of the year. It’s a top down, literally top down because you’re looking at the top of your characters heads, like straight up, like 90 degree camera view. You play a lady now, you’re not a sky pirate. You’re like a, I don’t know, air marshal, I guess, although not exactly an air marshal like we think of them now. But you’re like a lawgiver in this world full of floating islands and airships played from the top down perspective. There is an evil swarm of insects at the periphery.

And so you have to solve, you know, the issue of what do you do about the swarm and also upgrade your ship, take on side quests and help the different citizens of the different islands, fight sky pirates and stuff like that. It’s been a wonderful experience. I’ve been looking forward to it for quite some time. I know it was an early access for a pretty long period of time. Being in Early Access really paid off. This is one of the situations where the developers were making all the right calls by starting with a good premise and just continuing to polish from there. Everything that they’ve done so far that I’ve seen has been in the right direction. And I was quite excited when this came to console and my excitement was justified. It’s a really wonderful experience. I just finished it yesterday. That’s why I’m bringing it back to the show. So altogether it took me about 20 hours, which felt like just right. Plenty of stuff to do. I was having a great time. I never got bored with it. I loved the airship. I loved the air to air combat fighting other ships and other monsters in the air. I loved the combat. When you’re on the ground, it got a little bit frenetic at times. It could have been slowed down a little bit, but not a problem. And you got lots of powers to compensate for that, lots of weapons and upgrades.

And I think if anything, the the script could have used a little bit more polish. I don’t know if they’re native English speakers or not, but there’s a few times when I was like, okay, this could be punched up a little bit in terms of the actual like lines of dialogue. But that was such a small complaint.

When the game gets so much right, just like flying your ship around was great and doing the broadside cannons and then getting off your ship with your grappling hook and going to shoot some guys and shoot some bugs and running around and everything in this game was really just really polished and very player forward. Like lots of amenities toward the player, like ease of getting back to your ship, ease of getting back to wherever you want to go. Plenty of fast travel points, very generous life system, very generous save system. The inventory stuff was very easy to manage and I think they just patched it to make it even easier. Just everything about it was just very well thought out so that it was very frictionless to play. No real rough spots, no real problems, no part where I got really, really frustrated. It was just a very smooth experience. Now, that’s not to say it was super easy. I mean, there were definitely some challenging parts to it, but it was designed in such a way that it was just pleasant to play.

I never felt as though I was fighting the game. I felt like I was just playing and meeting challenges and doing things and it all just came together so well. Black Skylands offers a clear vision and clear mechanics in support of that vision. There’s nothing here that doesn’t make any sense or feels like extra fluff. It was just all really polished and focused and streamlined and on point. And I just had a wonderful, wonderful experience with it.

So I wanted to circle back. I wanted to give one final plug to Black Skylands because I feel like if you like 2D games, if you like 16 bit style games or just if you like a good game in general, this is just so fun. I had the best time with it. So Black Skylands wrapped it up, rolled credits. They actually just dropped an update a couple of days ago. That gives you a lot of post-game [00:25:00] stuff if you want to do post-game stuff and they don’t even charge you for it. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. Black Skylands is the bomb dude. And so my official so video game score for Black Skylands I’m going to give it a really solid 8.5 and that is rock solid. I had the best time. I think it’s probably going to be on my ten best of the year and I strongly recommend it. Basically no reservations whatsoever. Just a stellar game all the way around.

So congratulations to Black Skylands and to the developers. I believe their studio is called Hungry Couch. Great, great stuff. Please, please check it out. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

So Videogames Official Score: 8.5 out of 10

Developer: Hungry Couch Games

Publisher: tinyBuild

Code Source: Publisher

Platform Reviewed: PS5

ESRB Rating: T – Violence, Blood, Use of Alcohol

Colorblind Modes: No

Subtitles: Subtitles are present, they cannot be resized or altered. Audio is not needed for play. This game is fully accessible.

Controls: Controls can be remapped.

Brad Gallaway
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