Skyshine’s Bedlam (Post-Apoc FTL) Gets A Do-Over

Skyshine’s Bedlam [official site] was one of two FTL-on-wheels roguelikelikes we’ve seen in recent times, and while it pulled it off better than the outwardly similar Convoy, it was damned stressful. For me, it crossed the line from steely challenge with a risk of meaningful losses and into a consistently punitive grind. Despite my being a big wimpy baby, it turned out I’m not alone in bouncing off the good’lookin’, comic-styled, Banner Saga-powered wasteland death-trek. Devs Skyshine (lead by some Darksiders vets) have taken feedback on board and come up with a Redux version of the game.

There are some huge, and hopefully effective, changes to how the whole roadshow works – including a major rethink of the turn-based combat system.

The headline change as far as I’m concerned is that the turn-based combat has moved from each team having only two actions per turn to each participant having two action points. I.e. now you get to use your entire team per turn, rather than just one or two of ’em. Clearly the enemy gets to do the same, though.

This is welcome because the old way, while refreshingly different from the perhaps over-familiar X-COM norm, too often resulted in situations where you had to move a unit into range of multiple enemies in order to achieve anything, but then usually couldn’t do anything to get them out of harm’s way afterwards. You couldn’t just play it safe because, after a few turns, the opposing team were granted a Blitz status which gave them and them only more actions. The result was, to my mind, too many situations in which the death of your characters was unavoidable.

So that’s all changed. In Bedlam, each character on each squad now has two action points to be divided between movement and action – thus you can come up with a proper plan of action to manage a large enemy force and maybe, maybe not end up with all your guys bleeding out into the sand within a handful of turns.

It’s not a straight XCOM lift either: moving then shooting costs 1 AP but only inflicts 60% damage, whereas shooting right off the bat (and spending two action points in the process) lands 100% damage. There could be some fascinating tactics spooling out of that.

If you don’t like the sound of it, the original system can be restored via the settings menu, by the way.

Other changes include more and more unpredictable choose-your-own-adventure text pop-ups, but less clicking to navigate them; the option to choose your starting crew; the option to play as different factions from across the wasteland; the end-goal changing from always having to reach Aztec city to finding and fighting for various relics scattered about the place; many, many more units and sprites; randomised crew names. And a whole bunch more: the full breakdown is here.

Kudos to the devs for such an extensive response to feedback. Anyone had a chance to check it all out yet? I’ll definitely stick my nose back in if I can find a chance.


  1. anHorse says:

    Hopefully they can improve it. The version of the game they released was just horrid.
    It’s a kinda alright but very boring turn based game for about 3/4 of the journey and then it just turns into a series of THE WORST boss battles.

    Plus your success is entirely determined by getting, levelling and keeping alive powerful (and random event obtained) special units; your ordinary troops, the guys you level for most of a run, are almost irrelevant.

    • dontnormally says:

      > your success is entirely determined by getting, levelling and keeping alive powerful (and random event obtained) special units

      I completed the game without ever getting one of these units.

      • Joshua Northey says:

        Yeah I did not find them integral to success at all. It is important to level up some of your guys though.

  2. dontnormally says:

    I understand that different people have different experiences, and consciously avoid the dreaded humblebrag, but I did not run into any of the annoyances with this game that some seem to have.

    I backed it, waited until release to play, completed a single run (in which I succeeded), and enjoyed it thoroughly.

    I trust they’ve done well in this do-over and hope the changes are all things most people like.

  3. Easy says:

    I backed it, hated it despite multiple attempts, and am glad they they worked hard to offer something I might end up liking after all.

  4. SnallTrippin says:

    I actually almost beat Convoy on my first game, didn’t think it was very hard (except the boss) at all.

  5. b00p says:

    i’m enjoying it quite a bit. is much improved.

  6. MadMinstrel says:

    I bought it at launch, bounced off like a pingpong ball, and got a refund. I’ll give it one more chance, I guess.

  7. Malkara says:

    I briefly considered buying this today and then I saw

    “I haven’t seen a better looking game this year.” – Rock, Paper, Shotgun

    And, boy is that disingenuous to quote from a preview article as if it were a stamp of approval from this website, when your actual review was not a recommendation.

  8. haldolium says:

    Hm doesn’t sound too convincing really, but I might just give it another try.

    The issue is that people failed to get FTL, or rather the recipie of different ingredients why FTL is fucking awesome and just another 1-live-game might not be, since thats not the point of FTL.

    Bedlams issues were not soley in the wonky combat mechanics, but in the entire approach.

    But I am still happy to see this is being developed, since the art and idea at least are great.

  9. Frank says:

    Another backer here. I too bounced off it and haven’t looked back.

    Glad to hear they’re giving it another go.

  10. Joshua Northey says:

    I played this a month ago and found it charming if a little frustrating due to the aforementioned restrictive battle mechanics. Since you only had 2 moves a turn, often you really just needed one or two guys, any more and they were just additional things that could be shot. It didn’t really work well and I am not sure what they were thinking.

    But the art and text and general idea of the game were pretty good, so I will be happy to give it another whirl.

  11. LionsPhil says:

    That grim-looking man in the video thumbnail has a Pac-Man ghost on his nose.

  12. edgepixel says:

    It reminds me of the Judge Dredd comics. Huge futuristic cities with gigantic walls, badlands inhabited by bandits and mutants, the journey across the badlands in an armoured vehicle, all are ideas lifted from the Judge Dredd comics.

  13. Danarchist says:

    I played it this weekend for a bit. Still brutal in some ways, I enjoyed the feel of it though. Resource management is a whole different ball of wax when the resources are gained randomly.
    And losing all but one of my “A-team” to a surprise ability from a boss was…well I totally didn’t cry or nothing…much

    Level your noobies or pay the piper I guess