Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 30
  2. Negative: 0 out of 30
  1. Feb 21, 2020
    Failbetter finally balances smart gameplay and ingenious prose in this poignant saga of mortality, writ large.
  2. Feb 25, 2019
    Sunless Skies' bleak pondering of cosmic horror and colonialism is probably one of the best game narratives of 2019, and one that deserves to be experienced.
  3. Apr 17, 2020
    Sunless Skies is an excellent game that rewards commitment to its steady pace and steep learning curve. A web of plots and places suggest the infinity of the heavens, but even infinity must end; in this case, it stretches across a million words or so and easily forty hours. The story doesn’t explore every nuance introduced, but that’s a running problem when writers seek to explain the ways of the heavens to mortals. Like many powerful, unique titles, Sunless Skies leaves the player with the desire for more, not because it’s lacking but because it appeals to the mania to solve every mystery, plumb every depth.
  4. Feb 19, 2019
    With impeccable world-building and compelling exploration, Sunless Skies is a haunting journey that is worth traversing time and time again.
  5. Feb 7, 2019
    Over the couple dozen hours I’ve spent on my current adventure, I’ve made horrible deals with cunning people, lost crew members on woefully unprepared expeditions, and have generally huddled before my monitor waiting for the next calamity.
  6. Feb 7, 2019
    It is challenging, yes, but the sensations that it makes you feel are fantastic and they are a big image about the greatness of this adventure.
  7. Feb 5, 2019
    Failbetter continues to revolutionise the RPG - not by burning it all down, but by slipping pages of prose into every crevice it can.
  8. Edge Magazine
    Feb 1, 2019
    This is a game about stories that has a knack of producing really good ones - when you're doing well, and especially when you're doing badly. [March 2019, p.120]
  9. 90
    A wonderfully refined sequel that takes everything that was great about the original and expands and improves upon it, making for a much more accessible experience for everyone.
  10. Jan 31, 2019
    If you like expansive RPGs with engaging combat, a beautiful setting, and near-limitless roleplay potential, then Sunless Skies is definitely for you. For just $25, this is one of the best games you can get on PC right now.
  11. Jan 31, 2019
    Failbetter’s strange brand of Victorian fantasy meshes with the game’s measured resource management and dangerous combat to define a truly rich role to play, one that inevitably gives way to moral compromise as you operate, with some struggle and no small amount of complicity, under capitalism.
  12. Jan 31, 2019
    Sunless Skies delivers in ways you don't even expect it to. The atmosphere is incredible, and the stories almost addictive. The world is beautiful and the danger is tantalizing. It might be deadly, but it's well worth the trip.
  13. Jan 31, 2019
    The sharpest writing around, wrapped inside a surprising adventure that’s tough but rarely unfair. Failbetter’s finest hour.
  14. 90
    In the end, what Sunless Skies does do best is harness curiosity. I often found myself travelling to small hubs for specific quests, only to leave with a whole new set of stories, well beyond what I had expected. Each location is so lovingly crafted that even the darkest of places shines. With the combination of incredibly skilled and extensive writing and haunting and varied artwork, Sunless Skies has to be one of the most atmospheric game worlds I’ve ever played within.
  15. Apr 1, 2019
    Anything with this much text is going to feel slow-paced, and that is for the best. Despite being loads more forgiving than the first brutal installment, Sunless Skies is wicked hard. I’ve only seen half of the games star systems, I’ve botched major quests and started again, and died a dozen times in an hour. But every setback is a learning experience. Some games you play until you get stuck or bored and you quit. Not so with Sunless Skies. Even if I don’t boot it up for a while, I know I’ll be jonesing to captain my locomotive again many, many times.
  16. Feb 7, 2019
    Sunless Skies is a strange amalgamation of genres with even stranger stories to tell, but the weird world and nightmarish encounters come together to create something special. Combat and repetition may weigh down the Homeric adventure, but the overall journey is well worth the ticket.
  17. Feb 5, 2019
    If you like well written stories and an atmospheric world, the follow-up to Sunless Seas might just be the game you want.
  18. May 26, 2019
    It's an amazing journey — clever, spectacular and exciting. Fire up your furnaces, ladies and gentlemen, but don't forget how treacherous those twinkling stars can be.
  19. Feb 28, 2019
    Sunless Skies is a refined and more organic successor to Sunless Sea. The skies above London are full of intriguing events and charming characters depicted through a fancy, sharp and magnetic writing. The hybrid gameplay which mixes “choose your own adventure” elements with a classic RPG/roguelite scheme works well and offer a deep and satisfying experience. If you don’t mind read walls of text and embrace the rhythm of the slow gaming, Sunless Skies is one of the best games around.
  20. Feb 16, 2019
    Sunless Skies is an amazing surprise. It is a very solid RPG and strategy game, and its narrative is one of the best we’ve seen in years.
  21. Feb 14, 2019
    Just like the other two titles developed by Failbetter, Sunless Skies is not a game for everybody. It has a very slow rhythm and demands that you read a lot in order to understand the story. So if you are not into reading or patient enough, you'll probably get bored in the first few hours. But if you give it time and get along with its rhythm, you'll definitely have a wonderful experience.
  22. Feb 8, 2019
    Sunless Skies is another well-written story from Failbetter Games. The story and setting carry the game, but the combat mechanics can take some getting used to and may feel limiting. If you like your stories thick in the dark and strange ways of things like H.P. Lovecraft than this could very well be your cup of maddening tea. And you do like tea, don’t you? Of course you do, the Queen wouldn’t allow it to be otherwise and She is watching, always watching.
  23. Feb 1, 2019
    The roguelike Sunless Skies is more accessible than its predecessor and thrilling like a good book through its exciting stories.
  24. Feb 18, 2019
    Sunless Skies is a worthy sequel to Sunless Seas, which maintains the main features by improving certain aspects such as the user interface and the combat system.
  25. Feb 5, 2019
    At its best, Sunless Skies is a triumph. Its writers have crafted a world of endless wonder where seemingly anything is possible. At heart, it's a text adventure that conjures the imagination to send you on a journey as spectacular and memorable as any big-budget graphical blockbuster.
  26. Jan 31, 2019
    Sunless Skies doesn’t paint an entirely convincing picture of interplanetary travel. Your locomotive, for instance, sails between points on a flat surface, giving it the feel of seafaring with a cosmic paint job. But better to compromise there than in style, imagination and atmosphere. Sunless Skies has that in spades.
  27. Jan 31, 2019
    At times serene and at times unnerving, Sunless Skies epitomizes an atmospheric narrative-driven exploration into strange and unknown locales, only marred by the tedium that grows as the novelty eventually wears off after a few hours.
  28. Mar 4, 2019
    With its captivating prose, Sunless Skies will certainly scratch the narrative itch of its niche audience, but the lack of innovation in the gameplay department threatens to prevent new fans from being drawn in. Too often the rudimentary gameplay and masterful plot find each other at odds, and in both cases the player ends up being the victim.
  29. Feb 25, 2019
    A jewel made of words - beautiful, bewitching words. When you’re reading its stories, everything seems great, but then the game lets itself down with low difficulty and monotonous activities.
  30. Feb 21, 2019
    Sunless Skies is a real "interactive book". In the new game of Failbetter Games there are texts of a really rare quality for a video game, like a good sci-fi novel. Too bad that the strength of Sunless Skies is also its greatest limit: there are often long sequences of readings a bit too verbose and ends in themselves.
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  1. Jan 31, 2019
    All the verbal artistry of Sunless Sea scattered across a gorgeous steampunk cosmos that's a little easier to navigate and thrive in. [Eurogamer Essential]
  2. Jan 31, 2019
    It takes a great foundation and turns it into a game that, after ten hours with a near-final version, I think I might love even more than the first.
  3. Feb 1, 2019
    Much like the best kinds of horror, Sunless Skies has burrowed into the back of my brain and planted a little seed. When I’m not playing Sunless Skies, I find myself musing about what will happen the next time I jump on. The open, deceptively utopian sense to the new setting breathes life into a formula that I didn’t enjoy back on the sea. I’m glad to take to the stars; hopefully next time, I’ll manage to make it even further, before everything goes to hell once more.
  4. If you have never before visited a Sunless place, take to the Skies immediately. [RPS Bestest Bests]
  5. Feb 21, 2019
    If you just look at what Sunless Skies is from one moment to the next, you’ll rarely see much happening. It might seem empty, inert, a game that leaves everything to the imagination. Then, you might realize, that’s the trick.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 66 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 39 out of 66
  2. Negative: 16 out of 66
  1. Feb 8, 2019
    Its atmospheric, exploration story. Beautiful, otherworldly, quirky and maddening. Between the role playing aspect and the artwork alone makeIts atmospheric, exploration story. Beautiful, otherworldly, quirky and maddening. Between the role playing aspect and the artwork alone make this worth sinking a few dozen hours into. Game play isn't much different then Sunless Sea; Combat-lite mechanics seem just to add a rarely engaging system of story pacing. Though the beautiful setting it worth inching all over it can get repetitive. Full Review »
  2. Jan 31, 2019
    Post-apocalyptic Victorian adventure novel set within a mission driven combat-lite exploration game.

    + Well composed and atmospheric
    Post-apocalyptic Victorian adventure novel set within a mission driven combat-lite exploration game.

    + Well composed and atmospheric environment, rife with pathetic fallacy.
    + The stories are rich and diverse, tempting you ever onward.
    + Combat puzzles have some diversity and are a fun aside.

    - Fairly regular stuttering when loading new scenes can break immersion.
    - Some UX issues and missing quality of life conveniences.
    - Combat AI is relatively immature, leading to common glitches.

    If you enjoyed Frostpunk’s theme, Windward’s gameplay or Darkest Dungeon’s storytelling, then this is worth picking up and likely a must have after the first patch...
    Full Review »
  3. Feb 15, 2019
    this game is amazing the atmosphere and writing are flawless this game is one of the best