Airborne Kingdom was released in March this year and has been on my Steam wishlist for some time.
I’ve always been fond of city management games, especially those that take a unique approach to the setting, such as Frostpunk or Dorfromantik, so Airborne Kingdom’s premise sparked my interest.
With the numerous public holidays offered in April, I decided to give this city-builder in the sky a shot.
The world of Airborne Kingdom is a fractured place. In the past, a flying city travelled between the world’s cities. The people were connected through this airborne city, and knowledge was shared in a utopian alliance of settlements.
However, one day this floating city disappeared, and without it, the connections between the people of Airborne Kingdom collapsed, and the world slipped back into fractured isolation.
Your job is to take command of a new flying city and reforge the bonds of old.
The gameplay mechanics of Airborne Kingdom are split into two groups – management and building.
These two go hand in hand as you progress through the game, and both must be attended to if you hope to succeed.
As your city grows and you encounter more settlements, you’ll acquire new technology, and your population will increase.
To deal with this, you’ll expand your city by adding new buildings to its layout, ranging from houses to accommodate new citizens to new buildings that produce resources, such as bricks or glass.
However, while building, you must keep in mind the tilt and lift of your city. Place too many buildings on one side, and you’ll find your city begins to tilt, and the further it tilts, the more discontent your people will become.
Likewise, your city can only support so much weight, indicated by lift, and this cannot be exceeded.
If not carefully managed, high levels of lift can lead to situations where you need a specific building but can’t place it because you’ve reached your current limit.
While balancing your settlement – literally – you’ll also have to balance your resources. The more weight and lift you add, the more coal your city will burn to stay afloat. Additionally, the more citizens you have, the more food and water you’ll consume.
Therefore, being well-stocked in these resources is crucial for making sure your city remains afloat.
It may sound stressful having to juggle the needs of your citizens, multiple different types of resources and even the stability of your city. However, the experience of playing is quite the opposite.
It’s a calm experience that offers just enough challenge to keep you engaged but not so much as to overwhelm you.
As you drift over the patchwork landscape, crossing oceans, deserts and mountainous crags, it’s easy to settle back and enjoy the ride.
Airborne Kingdom is an enjoyable, calming city-sim that takes tried and tested mechanics in conjunction with a unique setting to provide an excellent experience.
Though it won’t offer Elden Ring levels of game length, as my two playthroughs took just over 11hrs, what it does offer is well worth its price.