Released on Steam in May, Volantia is a building sim all about reconstructing an ancient civilisation in the sky. But with puzzle elements and a unique ecosystem, Volantia isn’t your typical Sim City clone.
Separated from the rest of the world and thrust into the sky a long time ago, the titular city of Volantia thrived for many generations. But as the years passed, its stability become threatened, with pieces of land breaking off and scattering through the clouds. Naturally, it’s up to you to restore it. That means gathering resources, placing important buildings, researching, and expanding Volantia back to its former glory.
The game’s critical resources come from trees. Each type of tree has very specific needs: a dust tree, for example – necessary for gathering building resources – needs to be placed on a space of dusty land. A fruit tree needs to be placed on a blossoming space, but it also needs to be adjacent to water. Every tree, building and utility placed also needs to be connected to a road network. To make things a little bit trickier, the land is dotted with impassable obstacles such as forests and mountains. Therefore, succeeding in Volantia means careful planning and placing of elements in order to optimise the most useful areas. Playing the game feels a lot like solving a puzzle that’s constantly growing more complex, and this is even more apparent when it comes to laying new island pieces.
Volantia revolves around a basic premise: the land needs to be connected to Zardims – powerful monoliths that keep Volantia safe and in working condition. Unfortunately, these Zardims have been separated from the mainland, and are floating on their own islands in the sky. Every two minutes, you’ll recover a new island fragment which needs to be placed. It allows you to both expand your island as well as reaching closer to the Zardims. The game is over when you’ve found and activated all seven of them, but you’re against the clock with only twenty minutes to locate and connect to each one.
Placing the island pieces is probably Volantia‘s biggest puzzle element. You can rotate each new piece and have freedom to place it wherever you want, but you also need to consider its resources. Does it have water? If so, place it near blossoming tiles so you can plant new fruit trees. Does it have mountains or forests? Make sure they aren’t going to cut off any means of access.
Volantia is a fairly simple game, and completing one round won’t take any more than a couple of hours. But thanks to the random nature of the land layout, there’s plenty of replayability as every new game will be its own, unique puzzle. If you enjoy world building sims, Volantia offers a unique and colourful twist on the usual. And for £10/$13 on Steam, it’s definitely worth a try.