The concept of flying cities is a silly one, but one that really invokes the imagination. I couldn’t help but simultaneously be in awe and incredulous at Bioshock Infinite’s floating metropolis. But I can’t shake how cool the concept would be if it were possible. Airborne Kingdom takes the floating city idea one step further by tasking you with building your own flying settlement in a fantasy world.
Airborne Kingdom is a peaceful city builder where you build a floating city. As with any other city building game, you have to build certain buildings to maintain population, while also making sure the infrastructure is established enough to make everything run smoothly. Except, with the floating city, the infrastructure includes large propellers to keep the city aloft—and consideration must be taken for balance, lest your city will tilt too far one direction or another.
While the idea of building a floating city is neat, Airborne Kingdom doesn’t really have much else going for it. There isn’t much conflict beyond keeping your city in the air—something that has to be done by constantly harvesting coal. You’ll also need to similarly harvest building materials, and even people, as you recruit new settlers to work and live in your flying metropolis.
While Airborne Kingdom does have a plot and a purpose to fulfill, the pace is what you make it. You can choose to try to unite the twelve cities as fast as possible, or take your time and explore, researching new technologies and optimizing your flying city. While the concept is fun for a few hours, I found myself getting bored with it once the novelty wore off. It doesn’t help that with very little outside pressure (mostly the need for coal) Airborne Kingdom never feels very difficult.
I played the Nintendo Switch version of Airborne Kingdom, and while I would have liked to say it ran great, that’s really not the case. My initial run with Airborne Kingdom was actually full of crashes—especially when turning my Switch back on after hibernation. There have since been a few patches, and while I haven’t noticed anymore crashing, the performance isn’t great. Airborne Kingdom really chugs on the Switch, and doesn’t really look that great while doing it. The larger my city got, the more the game felt like it would slow down—which is a major bummer.
Airborne Kingdom is a peaceful city builder that mostly thrives on its concept. But once you get past the fact that you’re building a flying city, it becomes awfully stale. The greater quest of uniting the kingdoms is a nice long term goal, but the city building aspects were just not enough to compel me to complete it.
A Nintendo Switch key was provided to us for this review.