Forever Skies Hands-On Preview: A Toxic But Relaxing FlightIGN 5 October, 2022Soaring above the clouds in an airplane – or, if you’re extra adventurous, a hot air balloon – is often a joy for anyone inclined toward the excitement of travel. You get to see the world from up above, and not to mention, airline food isn’t always half-bad. Now imagine the very same experience, but the world is absolutely and utterly destroyed. Welcome to Earth in the future: a total garbage pile where the sky is bright green and poisonous. Oh, and don’t forget the brutal thunderstorms and the ravenous roving swarms of giant moths. And that’s saying absolutely nothing about what lives beneath the giant dust storm blanketing the Earth’s lower atmosphere. It all seems so interesting that I can’t help but wonder – and fear – what I might find when I eventually build the right components on my airship to get down there. That’s the feeling drummed up by Forever Skies, an airborne survival (and, eventually, horror survival)-slash-airship building sim that I got the pleasure of experiencing in the form of a closed test.If you’re interested in tons of combat and moment-to-moment action, you might want to look somewhere else. At least in its opening moments, Forever Skies is a slow-burn survival game that does its absolute darndest to make you feel insect-sized in its ravaged world. You start off by scrounging for the basics: food, water, health kits, crafting materials like metal and synthetics, and other tools you’ll need for survival. Very shortly after that, you get an airship that serves as your customizable home base and primary method of navigating through the world.You’ll need to build and place the engines and keep them fueled – it’s all very, very meticulous and not to mention, very slow. That could be a good thing or a bad thing, but I was looking for a way to kick back and relax, and Forever Skies is surprisingly very well-paced for doing just that. You can set your airship to simply glide toward a distant point of interest (marked by blinking lights) at a set speed, and then you can just chill out or do some crafting. Especially when paired with its almost lethargic, synth-heavy soundtrack, this can often feel perfectly atmospheric.It all blends together to create an experience that’s at least thematically paced like Fallout 4, minus the emphasis on shooting and looting.Forever Skies has what appears to be dynamic weather and rainstorms that can come and go, or you can pass through them once your airship is up and operational. Since this is a survival game at heart, you’ll need to manage your resource pools including stamina, health, hunger, and thirst. However, these pools go down pretty slowly, all things considered, and the items necessary to keep them filled are all too commonplace. This means you won’t be overwhelmed by the survival aspect if all you want to do is farm resources to build up the biggest airship. It all blends together to create an experience that’s at least thematically paced like Fallout 4, minus the emphasis on shooting and looting.That said, you’ll unlock a Scanner pretty early on that allows you to remotely scan different items in the world. From these items, you get blueprints that allow you to manufacture new tools and components in your 3D printer-like Fabricator, which coincidentally becomes available to use once you unlock your airship. This all happens very close to where your dropship touches down at the beginning of Forever Skies, and you’ll be crafting and attaching components to your fully-customizable ship within the first 20 or so minutes. Each time you craft a new item, you’ll need to spend the necessary resources and then wait for the Fabricator to do its thing, during which you can hop outside and use the Deck Extractor to shoot down floating resource nodes, refilling your stores for more crafting. It’s a pretty satisfying loop.You’ll be crafting and attaching components to your fully-customizable ship within the first 20 or so minutes.Once you get access to the aptly-named Build Tool, you can theoretically start to expand the size of the airship itself via new rooms, catwalks, and other prefabs. It’s a little buggy at the moment, and the only place I managed to place a new room was a spot to the left of my cockpit, clipping the cockpit and making the room inaccessible. It put a damper on the experience, but the idea is definitely very cool.Each point of interest seems like it has different items, blueprints, and at least one special battery that’s required for more advanced crafting. You’ll need these battery items to build more engines that can push your airship further, and there is even a turbine part that I could’ve built that would’ve allowed me to push down to lower altitudes, where combat is said to take place amidst the relics of Earth’s surface – and where one might also discover more about the catastrophes that befell the world as we knew it. I didn’t exactly get that far in the limited amount of time provided to me in the demo, but I’m excited to see where this post-apocalyptic airshow ends up.