From up on high – Airborne Kingdom

From the moment I saw this game for sale I knew I wanted to play it – from the gorgeous, dreamy, vaguely Arabic or Moroccan-looking imagery and style, to the music and, of course, the overall premise of the game, it was definitely my cup of tea.

I played on “normal” mode, which is, I think, the easiest you can go, as is my usual preference for a first run through. The challenge is simple, initially, and it teaches you everything you need to know and tells a beautiful mythic story that makes you want to explore and discover more about the lands you are sailing above. The challenge increases, though, and you are soon juggling the many needs of your people, and your need to explore and discover the secrets of the land below you.

You discover cities where there are main quests and side quests, and little settlements have people who are intrigued with the floating fortress, and they want to join you. There are also many over-arching main stories, and the quest to bring all the lands together in knowledge and peace drives everything you do.

The main story centers around rediscovering lost knowledge, sharing with the now fractured nations of this once proud and combined part of the world. Each city and region has an abundance and scarcity of various things (food in one, water in another, wood in another, etc) and they also have requests before they will join the Pact.

You start off with only one, and these do not need to be completed in any specific order, as they do not rely on other kingdoms to be completed. Each kingdom who joins also offers technological advancements found in their vaults, libraries, and catacombs, and you can then research these and add them to your airborne abode.

I was very proud of my magnificent city by the end of the game, and I worked hard to maintain the balance of lift, propulsion, and of course, meeting all the needs of my people. Sometimes, this was definitely a challenge, as resources are scarce in many places and the main resource keeping you afloat (literally) is coal, and sometimes I cut it pretty close to dropping from the sky! Well, actually, it’s more of a slow glide downward, and there’s not much you can do about it. This happened once to me, and I restarted from an older save, and that’s my tip to you – SAVE OFTEN, preferably BEFORE you do anything major. Another tip – click on EVERYTHING on the ground, as I discovered many new resources that I didn’t know I needed, as well as some added extras that helped with later missions and negotiations.

I am not going to ruin the end of this gorgeous game, but I hope you get the idea of it from this, and from the images I posted here. I tried not to spoil anything for others. The nice thing about this game is that you can play it the way you want to – focusing on various elements as you see fit. I put my focus on my harvesters (The gliders onboard) and on creating food and water, but there are many other ways to go, and many technologies that you trade for relics (thus the – click on everything – hint) that you can decide priority for in your city.

Overall, it’s a beautiful, peaceful, Zen-like city builder and resource management game. Sometimes, I would just float somewhere above a forest or some sandy desert canyons, watching the birds fly around my city, and listen to the hum of the propellers. It was magical. A game well-worth it, in my opinion.

May your city stay ever aloft, and your people jubilant.

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