London was once stolen by bats and had to stay a mile below the surface. That was certainly not the final fate of the most delicious empire on Earth, which after some time left the constraints of the Unterzee to reach into the heavens.
The story in Sunless Skies starts ten years after the events in the earlier game Sunless Sea, and both of them take place in the Fallen London universe. The very first thing the player experiences is a chaotic journey through a narrow passage on a steam-powered locomotive with a dying captain and an utterly confused crew. When, eventually, safely parked at New Winchester the whole engine with crew is inherited from the old captain. The big problem now is that the player initially has no idea about how anything connects in the world. That is a big part of the gameplay, which is to explore the world, to make sure to have the finances to enable that exploration, and to slowly get closer to the truth. Or at least one truth.
This game is rather similar to its predecessor with a very slow gameplay with a strong focus on atmosphere and storytelling. It is easier to make the (sadly necessary) trading profitable, and the geography is significantly more convenient with more than one main hub. There is a larger number of different storylets but they are on the other hand not as developed. That was at least my impression. A lot of the interactions within the game works streamlined with the updated interface.
Sunless Skies is an efficient time-sink, and that is booth a good and bad thing. Sometimes all the transportation between the stations is frustratingly slow, and other times it’s just relaxing. The world is big, the locomotive is small, the monsters and villains are scary, nice moody artwork, mostly good music and complex intrigue. And then a few more hours have been harvested from my time…