Developer: The Wandering Band LLC
Publisher: Freedom Games
Platforms: PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Serise X PC
Reviewed On: PS4 Pro
Release Date: 09/11/2021
£17.99 £14.99/$24.99 $19.99
On sale until 16/11/2021 UK and 17/11/2021 US
Reviewed By: Keith Lavelle
Review Rush was kindly supplied with a review code.
City builders and resource management games sort of all run the same. You start off with a small area and grow and grow until you have a large city. All the while making ure enough resources are available to keep running. Airborne Kingdom is a little different.
There is a story in Airborne Kingdom. Rebuild the legendry flying kingdom. While also create new alliances from the twelve kingdoms that are now disjointed and slowly failing on their own. Your ten citizens and you embark on the monumental task of saving the world.
The other story elements come from the kingdoms and doing the quest that they ask you to do. These give more information on the kingdom and its blite.
Familiar But Different
Airborne Kingdom has enough elements to feel familiar enough to pick up while adding a lot more that feel like natural additions. The usual suspects are here, making sure there is enough housing for citizens, building on connecting paths, while making sure you have enough resources to survive, food, water, fuel and building materials. After this, things get a little different.
Ok, a lot different. The first thing you will notice is (it is in the title) your AIRBORNE Kingdom is flying. This comes with its own unique benefits and drawbacks.
Let’s will start with you are flying! This opens up a few new ways to play a city builder. You can move around the beautifully designed world; this is vital to the city’s survival and reuniting the kingdoms. It is a simple click on the world where you would like to go and the city will tranquilly and serenely move to the point on the map. To keep the city aloft, you need coal. Coal is by far the most important resource not to run out of, or your city will crash and burn (I tried).
To gather the resources, the citizens will fly down to terra firma and gather the required resources and bring them back to the city. As long as they are in range as the aircraft has a limited range.
Airborne Kingdom has not made building facilities as simple as build it here, and we are done. Industrial building that will help to improve your city or the airfields and so on, have their own exclusion area. Each facility has a ring around them to show how far homes need to be away from them. This adds a bit of forward planning on the layout of the city.
But that seems fairly standard? Well, with this being a flying city, there are two elements that you HAVE to understand before building anywhere. These are your ability to keep aloft and also making sure you keep the city level.
Levelling The Flying City
As you build and expand, your Kingdom you may notice your city leaning to one side. This needs sorted as if it gets heavier on that side. You will eventually flip and everyone will fall out of the city. So, as you are building, you must take into consideration where the weight will be. Evenly distribution of weight is vital to saying a float. However, there are structures that can be added to keep your city level like wings and engines. This, however, will increase coal use.
Your wee city will have but one engine to keep it from crashing and burning. While expanding, the city will become heavier and the single engine cannot produce enough thrust to keep it aloft. Therefore, more engines are a must have to keep it up in the air. Not only do engines keep the city airborne, they also produce forward momentum. This will diminish as the city expands. So we need more engines to keep the speed up. Or the city might not have enough speed to gather resources.
This might all sound complicated, but Airborne Kingdom makes them all fit in place and feels they really natural after a while. It impressed me how intuitive it was to keep on top of these elements.
The Kingdoms Are Broken And Something Is Different
Airborne Kingdom wants you to reunite the twelve kingdoms to bring prosperity to the world once more. So it is up to us to travel around the world and complete missions for each kingdom to get them to forge new alliances with you. These tasks are varied and different (for the most part). And the rewards for completing the quest and getting the Kingdom to join your new alliance are invaluable to the Kingdom’s survival. From blueprints for new engines, buildings and so on.
After mastering the games mechanics, the adventure changes. Airborne Kingdom is also an open-world RPG. The city is free to fly around the world, exploring places on the map like ancient ruins to collect relics. Small towns to recruit citizens and purchase resources. There are several skill trees to master. These will improve how well the city runs and improve the performance of the Kingdom’s fuel resource consumption and adding permanent buffs to buildable objects.
A Relaxing Experience
Even with all these individual elements seeming chaotic and stress full. Airborne Kingdom is a really relaxing and engaging experience. Airborne Kingdom uses fantastic writing to keep the player engaged. Beautiful music to listen to and stunning, surreal scenery to look at. And intuitive gameplay, that all mix together to create a very easy going game.
Overall, Airborne Kingdom is a fantastic new way to experience a city builder sim. Each element works wonderfully well with each other. While never coming across as too overwhelming for the casual player. Taking a well-established formula and moving it to a new plain, it had succeeded.
Airborne Kingdom will not before everyone, but if you are a fan of the city builder games and want to try something different, this is a must.