How do you balance -- and indeed encourage -- a war between factions without letting either side obliterate the other? How do you rule over gods, creatures, and men who refuse to obey you? How do you build a landscape of villages when bandits and mythology are conspiring to tear it down?
User reviews: Mixed (224 reviews)
Release Date: May 23, 2013

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Includes 2 items: Skyward Collapse, Skyward Collapse: Nihon no Mura

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"I can never play Skyward Collapse again. I work from home. Frankly, having it – and the accompanying temptation – within arm's reach would be detrimental to my productivity."
Richard Mitchell, Joystiq

"Skyward Collapse offers a unique twist on a stagnant genre"
9/10 - Rob Savillo , GamesBeat

About This Game

How do you balance -- and indeed encourage -- a war between factions without letting either side obliterate the other? How do you rule over gods, creatures, and men who refuse to obey you? How do you build a landscape of villages when bandits and mythology are conspiring to tear it down? Skyward Collapse places you into the role of The Creator, and frees you to tackle these problems your own way. Brought to you by the developer of the modern strategy classic AI War: Fleet Command, Arcen's second full strategy title is equally unique (but far easier to learn): a turn-based 4x strategic god-game.

Your task is to build and populate the floating continent of Luminith. You create -- but cannot control -- gods, creatures, and artifacts from both Greek and Norse mythology. The power you wield with these is immense: Heimdall's horn causes everyone outdoors to drop dead, for crying out loud. Your task is to keep both factions alive and fighting until The Master calls you home -- but this is harder than it sounds. Bandit Keeps pop up periodically, as do Woes such as floods, serial killers, guild strikes, and vegetarian uprisings. Every game plays out differently, and you'll need even the craziest of your powers in order to survive what lies in store for you.

Game Features

  • A turn-based strategic god-game where you control neither faction, but instead strive to maintain the balance of power.
  • Make towns and war as the boardgame-like floating continent continues to construct itself around you.
  • Persuade your minions into doing what you want by controlling the circumstances of their (brief) lives.
  • 16 gods, each with unique passive abilities and three active powers, help you further your goals as you pass into the Age of Monsters.
  • Level up your player profile by winning games. Twelve unlockable buildings in all!
  • Straightforward controls paired with an intuitive and helpful interface make this an easy title to pick up... but the strategy runs deep.
  • Multiple difficulty levels let you play a very relaxed game up to a nail-bitingly difficult one. There's no one best way to win!
  • Co-op multiplayer for up to 8 players.

System Requirements

Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • OS:Windows XP SP2 or later
    • Processor:1.6Ghz
    • Memory:2 GB RAM
    • Graphics:Resolution at least 720px high, and 1024px wide.
    • Hard Drive:500 MB HD space
    • OS:Mac OSX Intel CPU and "Leopard" 10.5 or later.
    • Processor:1.6Ghz
    • Memory:2 GB RAM
    • Graphics:Resolution at least 720px high, and 1024px wide.
    • Hard Drive:500 MB HD space
    • OS:Ubuntu 10.10 or later, although other unsupported distros may very well work
    • Processor:1.6Ghz
    • Memory:2 GB RAM
    • Graphics:Resolution at least 720px high, and 1024px wide.
    • Hard Drive:500 MB HD space
Helpful customer reviews
12 of 13 people (92%) found this review helpful
26.5 hrs on record
Posted: March 12
A Paladin's Steam Review: Skyward Collapse

Overall Gameplay Thoughts
Skyward Collapse is a combination of turn-based strategy and god game elements. Where your goal is to keep two factions in a balanced war while building up the continent they exist on. If one side takes out the other, it's game over. The trick to accomplishing balance is that you have no direct control over the faction's actions, there are independent factions and cataclysmic events that can change the landscape.

You don’t have direct control over the units in the game but you can influence each faction and their actions. Each turn you can create land tiles, military/resource buildings and semi-direct the flow of the game. While you might think "just turtle/don’t build units and you’ll achieve easy balance", well, Skyward Collapse won't let you. You have to achieve certain point goals every X turns or you'll fail the game. And you only get points through units/buildings being destroyed. Expect units and buildings to die. A lot. You’ll need to keep producing more buildings and units for each side to kill. Keeping this balanced is exceptionally tricky, especially when chaotic forces intervene. Just so you know, you do have some direct actions you can take such as smiting buildings or putting down a way point that the faction may or may not respond to. So you’re not completely helpless.

Learning Curve
The game has a fairly difficult learning curve to it, though it’s not TOO dense. There is a tutorial which can introduce you into the game and give you a good idea of what’s what. But you’ll have to figure out several tech trees, which buildings are important and what units are most effective towards your goals. Additionally, each faction has a distinctive personality with their strengths and weaknesses to understand. The UI is great with displaying information but the amount of information can be overwhelming at times. The game itself can be chaotic with the neutral factions spawning their units and Woes creating widely variable situations (think plagues or earthquakes splitting the lands). There is a LOT of content in this game and learning it will take a decent amount of time. You’ll be playing a few maps to really get your head around it.

PC Settings & Multiplayer
V-Sync, resolutions, audio sliders and mouse options (edge-scrolling, speed, etc) are here. There isn’t any important settings missing. Skyward Collapse is very stable, having no visible bugs or crashing problems. The Cooperative aspect in this game is ok but it feels a bit bare-boned. All your friend(s) can do is be a creator and try to keep things in balance with you. The soundtrack has a mellow piano and guitar setup, keeping you relaxed even in the most intense/frustrating situations you'll often find yourself in. While it isn't the most distinctive of the soundtracks Pablo Vega has made, it works very well for this game.

Additionally, you have a lot of options to change how easy or difficult the game can be. You can increase how Woe's (special events) impact the game, how stringent the score requirement per round will be and how many turns you must survive in order to succeed.

Final Thoughts
Skyward Sword is one of Arcen's more intriguing and, in my opinion, well executed experiments. The combination of god game & turn based strategy works very well. I really enjoyed building up cities and seeing armies fighting it out while I watched from above. The flow of the game will swing one way to the next as events happen, really giving me that “one more turn” craving. While not having direct control made me feel a bit passive or understandably frustrated when things go horribly wrong, it’s still a lot of fun. You should also pick up the DLC for the complete experience as it gives you another mechanic to win the game and the Japanese faction to really spices things up. Skyward Collapse is a definite recommendation from me.

Original Blog Post
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14 of 17 people (82%) found this review helpful
8.1 hrs on record
Posted: January 5
It's an interesting premise; I rushed to it because I missed playing god games. Unfortunately, it doesn't manage to be a very good god game, leaning more towards the TBS side, and it's not a great TBS either. If you're anything like me, you'll probably love it for the first 20 rounds or so; then your interest will fall more and more. By turn 70 I just wanted it to be over.

Some have said that the main problem is a lack of challenge: once you figure out how to play it, that's it. But if that was the case, you could just get more bandits and woes. (In fact, I managed to lose it once, and that didn't make it much more interesting.) In my opinion the problem lies elsewhere: it gets repetitive, and it feels pointless. In a god game, you usually have a “project” in your head, something you want to do; in an RTS or TBS, you're constantly under pressure by the opponent(s). Here neither thing happens: no use having a project because you have very little control over what will get destroyed, and also because there is simply not that much you can do; and the pressure simply isn't there either, since winning is “score X points and make sure both factions survive” — once you reach the required score and have one well-fortified town of each faction safely away from the conflict areas, it's an annoying game of attrition.

Again, it's a very interesting premise, and I'll keep an eye on it — it has a lot of potential to be fixed in an expansion or sequel. But as it currently stands, I don't think it works.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
70.0 hrs on record
Posted: May 3
Skyward Collapse is a game that requires some dedication and time investment to really learn it. You have to forgive the fact that there is no animation at all - characters slide around the world like pieces on a board game. And I'm going to say right up front to buy this game with the Nihon no Mura expansion. It's only a little extra for it, and you won't want to be without the Super Smite ability that comes with it.

As a god-like being, you command two factions of human civilization, which can be either Greek, Norse, or (with the expansion) Japanese. Each has unique skills, monsters, and gods whose powers can be used against one another by building up their towns and earning supplies.

Here's the catch: you're on both teams. You can't allow one to completely destroy the other. And you can't just not let them fight, because you need to earn points to make score requirements every so many rounds. So, you have to find ways to keep them balanced - if one side starts overwhelming the other, you'll have to concoct strategies to even the odds. This can get quite hectic, especially considering all the random elements the game tosses at you - such as the woes that create game-changing conditions, the rogue bandits that pop up every so often, and what to do if a character attains such high stats that they become practically unstoppable.

Once you get the hang of it, you will likely never be in any real danger of losing. But the game is fully-customizable. You can change any number of elements to make it as hard or as easy as you'd like. Going for the achievements is a good way to learn the game's rules and mechanics and to give you concrete goals to shoot for.

Rating: 3.5/5
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.0 hrs on record
Posted: May 30
Interesting concept of a god game about ruling multiple factions. Your goal is to balance both sides but also keep them strong enough to fight off stuff like neutral bandits. However after an hour the initial charm of the game wears off as a glaringly ugly UI and game world start to become noticeable. I understand the game is indie but ugly indie games must at least have mechanics which are compelling enough to warrant continued play for at least a decent amount of time. The game is ultimately just too shallow.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
31.7 hrs on record
Posted: January 27
Another elegant, bizarre genre/mechanics mashup from Arcen. It's a 4x highscore strategy game...sort of. It's pretty easy to cruise through lower difficult levels, but once you turn it up to hard or higher, you will be constantly scrambling to both (1) get each side to kill and destroy as much of the other side's units and buildings as possible while (2) not letting anyone get totally wiped out. The basic early-game strategies you employ will involve instigating two competing armageddons against each civilization's strongholds, which will be followed by armageddons on your armageddons. Available map space for new strongholds will quickly be oustripped by how much of it is covered in unrecoverable ruins, adding a hard limit on exactly how much infrastructure you can destroy before literally running out of space to build destroyable infrastructure on. High level play is madcap and insane as you race against the clock to meet score requirements without completely ruining everything on the map.

In other words, it's sort of like a strategic Jenga? You will be constantly trying to work out the metagame that you're playing against yourself, and then putting out fires that you yourself ignited with even bigger fires. Fires upon fires swallowing up oxygen, with the only real solution being to add more chaos to the mix and hope that you can deal with the aftermath later.

Coop is also great fun, particularly with beer.
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