20,000 Leagues Above the Clouds is "Baldur's Gate meets Pirates!", with steampunk airships in place of boats

Sky pirates are automatically cooler than regular soggy pirates, at least in my mind - there's something terrifically exciting about the notion of wending your way between the clouds, tilling your air-rudder and hoisting your air-sails, and other things that don't quite make sense in the context of a big ship that magically doesn't plummet to its doom. 20,000 Leagues Above the Clouds is a sort of inverse Jules Verne tale, taking you on a steampunky journey across the "seven skies" (don't examine that one too closely). By the looks of it, it's a trading game in the manner of Sid Meier's Pirates! or all manner of space sims, but with character and world design inspired by Studio Ghibli, and with elements of Baldur's Gate apparently somewhere in the mix. Trailer below.

20,000 Leagues appears to be a largely point-and-click-based trading game, with an interesting level of verticality to the world exploration, and with towns and other docking points represented by largely static menu screens. You'll begin the game by making your own character and assuming control of your own sky-ship, making your eventual fortune "through missions, trading, resource gathering or piracy".

Developers That Brain have worked on the likes of LittleBigPlanet 2 and the recent Bionic Commando games, and there doesn't appear to be a Kickstarter on the horizon - the small team is funding the game themselves, from their own pockets. When it launches, 20,000 Leagues will be sold under a Pay What You Want payment model - or that's the current plan, at least.

There's not a ton to go on in the released images and videos, but it sounds like promising stuff. You can sign up for the beta (which hasn't released yet) here .

Tom Sykes

Tom loves exploring in games, whether it’s going the wrong way in a platformer or burgling an apartment in Deus Ex. His favourite game worlds—Stalker, Dark Souls, Thief—have an atmosphere you could wallop with a blackjack. He enjoys horror, adventure, puzzle games and RPGs, and played the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII with a translated script he printed off from the internet. Tom has been writing about free games for PC Gamer since 2012. If he were packing for a desert island, he’d take his giant Columbo boxset and a laptop stuffed with PuzzleScript games.