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Build a kingdom in the sky in puzzle/sim blend Volantia

Sim Laputa

One of the great things about games is that you really can just take two disparate concepts, mash them together and come away with something genuinely good. Volantia: Kingdom In The Sky from Tangled Mess Games (featuring some of the talent behind the lovely micro-roguelike Desktop Dungeons) is a blend of city-building management and block-tessellation puzzle, and it launched today.

While I strenuously object to the genre descriptor 'Greenpunk' (where's the punk part?), there is definitely a lot of lush and verdant grass to be seen in Volantia. The game promises a relatively low-pressure experience, giving players the time and resources they need to build, expand and refine their floating island kingdom.

While the heart of the game does seem to be in managing the minutia of your kingdom, you've also got to continually expand your territory and reinforce land so that it doesn't go falling into the sea of clouds below. You do this by attaching additional chunks of land in block-rotating puzzle style as neatly as you can. Ideally, you want a landmass rich in resources, without huge gaps and ravines that'll make it difficult to build on.

For those who immediately thought of early online RTS Netstorm, I had exactly the same thought. While there's definitely some similarity with Volantia's land-expanding mechanics, fans of that might be better served by Stratus: Battle For The Sky, an unofficial remake currently in early access.

While Volantia's game sessions may be longer than Netstorm's frenzied puzzle-strategising, it does sound like a relatively slight game, with not much in the way of story and a given session completable in under two hours. Good for an afternoon chill-out session, but unlikely to devour entire nights the way a good game of Civilization can. Whether that's something to be held for or against the game is down to personal preference.

Volantia is out now on Steam for £10.29/10.79€/$13.

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Dominic Tarason