Build a skyship and explore an airborne open world in the Black Skylands playtest

Black Skylands is a retro-styled "skypunk" game about a woman named Eva on a quest for revenge against the raiders who murdered her father and destroyed her home. It blends elements of open-world sandbox games and top-down shooters, and is set to launch into Early Access sometime this summer—but if you're curious, you can play it right now.

To get in, just head over to the Steam page and click the button requesting access to the playtest. After a relatively small download—about 170MB—you'll be ready to take to the skies. The playtest kicks off with a very basic tutorial that pays no heed to the narrative, but that's okay because, as the opening message notes, the story in the full game is going to be different from what's in the demo anyway. Understandably in a pre-Early Access demo, there are a few bugs that you might run across, although the little bit I played seemed quite stable.

The Steam listing says that Black Skyland will go into Early Access release sometime before the end of June, and it's expected to stay there for up to a year. The final version will be roughly double the size of the initial release, but a decision on a possible price increase when full launch takes place hasn't been made.

"We love getting feedback. Moreover, for us it's a need," developer Hungry Couch Games said. "As we've already mentioned above, it's impossible without a solid player base. We believe that an Early Access launch will allow us to build such a base and in this manner players can help to eventually get the version of the game that they most want to play."

The Black Skylands playtest is open to all—the only catch is that you'll need to move on it fairly quickly, because it wraps up on April 30. You can keep up with what's happening in the playtest and beyond via the Black Skylands Discord.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.