Jan 03

Refunded: Skyshine's Bedlam

Written by Jon Carr Read 1 time

Skyshine's Bedlam (so named since a game called "Bedlam" exists on Steam) is a post-apocalyptic rogue-like strategy game. It has all the elements to be brilliant: Awesome artwork, a strong presentation, a wasteland setting and solid music. It is like if The Banner Saga and FTL had a mutant baby, this would be it. I love both those games, shouldn't this mix of the two be epic and hugely playable?

I want that answer to be a resounding "YES" but after 90+ minutes of time into the game, I found it to be a solid "No." 

There's a lot to like here. The mad-max'ish setting, the FTL-like progress, the Banner-Saga'ish combat. Pick a dozer (like in FTL) pick a route (like in FTL,) make choices along the way (like FTL and TBS.) Combat takes up a large portion of the game, and is where this game failed miserably for me. It is unfair, un-fun, and not tactical in the least. I expected the game to be hard, but it feels arbitrarily punishing. It is too easy to lose your units, especially when they have just become veterans. It is exceedingly easy to run out of supplies for your Dozer when you've barely started. These kinds of games are certainly a trial-and-error experience, but after playing something like FTL which does it so well, here it just comes off as mean.

The dev's listened to customer feedback on release, and have since worked hard on several updates. I played the game recently, but before the latest update. In the game's defense, the latest update did possibly adjust one of my biggest problems, which is the stupid 2AP a turn action system for you and the enemy. It leaves you very little room to be tactical, and is often absurdly unfair for you when the enemy makes use of it with a boss character or other damaging unit. 

But you don't get a second chance to make a first impression. I have a zillion other games I could be playing that are fun and awesome. Maybe if I revisited Skyshine's Bedlam after the latest update I would enjoy the combat. As it stands, I am not writing this to warn you off the game, if it looks interesting to you I say go for it. If you don't like it, Steam's refund policy is available.

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