Does this Dawn Machine have a snooze button?

Sunless Seas and Starless Skies

iOS, PC/Mac•

Failbetter Games just completed their Kickstarter for Sunless Skies, the spiritual sequel to indie smash-hit and certified (by yours truly) best game of all time, Sunless Sea. They blew past their goal of $125k, raising almost four times that much and unlocking stretch goals for Sunless Sea and Fallen London as well as Failbetter’s forthcoming spacefaring adventure.

The only disappointment of the campaign was that it was conducted neither in pounds sterling nor the Echoes approved by the Masters of the Bazaar, presumably because the only thing riskier at the moment than raising capital in a fictional currency would be relying on the pound post-Brexit. Residents of the rebel colonies can take some small satisfaction in the estimation of the USD to be momentarily more stable than the currency of the crown, but they should have a care – there have been whispering of late that Mr. Iron has been seen in the Forgotten Quarter and, stranger yet, at the Cumaean Canal, working an abacus with inhuman speed and chuckling softly.

Sunless Sea is set sometime after Fallen London, and Sunless Skies takes us all the way to the 20th century, when spacefaring locomotives (hallooo Galaxy Express 999) ply their way through the tenebrous heavens and brave their unspeakable hazards. From the first days of Echo Bazaar (Fallen London’s old name) the greatest mystery of the Neath was why – what made that huge subterranean cavern an exception to the laws of nature? The deliciously unnerving answer is that it’s not: Lurking fear, unspeakable truths, and sinister transformations are cosmic norms in this setting. The banality of everyday life was the exception, the aberration, and by the time of Sunless Sky, it appears that that anomaly has come to an end.

I love it.

But that’s not the only good news: Sunless Sea is coming to mobile! Failbetter has announced a release date of March 23rd for iOS. You’ll need iOS 8+ and an iPad Air or better to play: there’s no word about an Android version, and you shouldn’t hold out for a phone version: this game made good use of the entire screen on PC, it’ll be interesting to see how they fit it all on a table.

Between now and the 23rd, you should be playing A House of Many Doors on PC and Voyageur on your phone or tablet. Both of these games are alumni of Failbetter’s Fundbetter incubator, each with it’s own take on story-driven gaming with interesting systems. Travel is the common thread here, be it on a walking train through “a parasite dimension that steals from other worlds” in House or in a one-way journey toward the galactic core in Voyageur.

Enjoy, delicious friend. Perhaps we’ll meet somewhere up there in the cold and hungry space between the stars. I’d like that.

Liked it? Take a second to support Stately Play on Patreon!

Start the discussion at