Being a pilot is not easy and neither is being a sailor. Imagine the challenges that come with trying to do both at once. Well, it’s what you’ll need to do if you want to have your own airship. Even though Black Skylands is still in Early Access, it gives you an airship right off the bat and a lot of skies to explore. However, while mastering airship travel is a key part of the game, it’s by no means the only one. You’ll need to learn how to do proper footwork, gather resources, maintain your base, and protect islands from invasions.
The Black Skylands Airship
It doesn’t take long before you’re thrown behind the helm of your very own airship once the game starts. From the top-down perspective, you’ll be able to steer the airship in whatever direction you want. The first thing to note is that, since you’re flying, there’s a distinct lack of friction. You won’t be able to turn sharply on the fly, so you’ll need to alternate between thrust and reverse in order to navigate the skies. You should also know that the airship is fairly delicate and the slightest bump will damage it.
With this in mind, the two main aspects of the airship you need to monitor are the gas tank and hull integrity. You can purchase and fill gas canisters at fueling stations found around the skies and you can store multiple in the ship’s storage. Hull integrity is represented by a large green bar that decreases with every hit. You can repair any damage, represented by smoking cracks, by using repair kits so make sure you bring plenty.
While soaring through the skies, you’ll encounter enemies. They come in two varieties: Ships and flying individuals. These enemies will attack by flying near and firing either bullets or rockets. Rockets are powerful and home in, but are slow and can be shot down. Bullets are weaker but need to be avoided. Your primary means of defense are left and right cannons which can be fired individually in a triple spread. If you fire them too much, they’ll overheat and will need to cool down which can speed up by tending to them. Ammo runs out surprisingly fast so be sure to stock up.
Black Skylands Guide for Beginners - The Pilot
When you’re not flying, you’ll need to guide Eva on foot. You’ll need to run around different islands in order to harvest fruits, pick up items, interact with people and items. You can either jog or run, but you won’t be able to dodge or attack while doing the latter. However, the most important tool is the Hookshot, a directional tool that can hook resources from afar or launch you to different islands.
Eva’s stats are shown in the opposite corner to the airship’s. She has a health bar, Luma energy, and medkit counter. While the first and last are self-explanatory, Luma energy works like extra lives. When Eva’s health drops to zero, her moth Luma will carry her to the airship to be revived. However, if Luma has no more energy when Eva falls, she will end up in the last bed she slept in.
A large part of footwork is fighting enemies across different islands. Eva can carry up to three different firearms which she can switch between. The weapons are divided into pistols, rifles, and shotguns each with its own stats, ammo, and upgrades. You’ll face a variety of gunner enemies and melee attackers. Keep moving to avoid getting swarmed and use the dodge roll to evade enemy fire. Be cautious of tougher and well-armored enemies which are indicated by a golden health meter. Ammo runs out quickly but can be restored by destroying containers, visiting stockpiles, or by finishing off enemies with a Hookshot attack. If your health drops low, use medkits in a safe area since healing takes a few seconds. To find more kits, harvest green fruits.
Black Skylands Resource Gathering
While exploring Black Skylands in the airship and on foot, you’ll come across numerous resources. They take the form of crates and can be harvested from clusters on different islands. Resources are clearly marked by an icon and each crate only counts for one unit. Eva can only carry one crate at a time and can’t attack or dodge while doing so. She’s still able to run and can use Hookshot to cover more ground. You can deposit the crate either in your airship’s storage or warehouse grate on an island. While resources put on the airship stay there, items placed in warehouses can be accessed from any island that has one.
Resources are the key to upgrades and building up your home base.
Black Skylands Home Base
Your starting point and hub area in Black Skylands is a large communal airship known as the Fathership. It’s full of NPCs wandering around as well as a store, fueling station and a place to unlock modification crates. However, the most important aspect is the open plots of land. With the right resources, you can build facilities like Factories and Armories needed to process resources and develop upgrades. It also has Eva’s house where she can sleep to recover health and progress time by 8 hours. Thankfully, you can also fast travel to the Fathership from the map screen to save time.
One of the main goals in Black Skylands is to liberate the many islands from pirate occupation. A huge pirate gang known as the Falcons has taken over under the guise of offering protection through oppression. Your mission is to visit each of these islands and remove them by force. Islands under pirate rule appear as read on the map and an indicator shows how many pirates are there and their overall strength level. To free the island, you’ll need to eliminate every single enemy. Upon doing so, the populace will become free to operate as usual and will lend its workforce to help support special upgrades.
Unfortunately, the pirate menace in Black Skylands is not so easily crushed. Occasionally, the Falcons will attempt to reclaim liberated islands and a large warning sign will appear when an attack is in progress. Most attacks offer a time limit of 15 minutes to get to the island and defeat the invading force. You can use the fueling station to fast travel if you need to spawn closer to the at-risk island. The enemy’s current location is marked by danger signs on the map. If the island falls, you’ll lose its people’s support so be sure to respond as quickly as possible to avoid getting overwhelmed.