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Airships: Lost Flotilla is a fun looking spin-off from the much loved Airships: Conquer the Skies developed by David Stark.

What is it? A steampunk auto-shooter where you fight your way through waves of enemies on your way to a safe harbour. Destroy your foes, harvest wreckage and upgrade your ship. Taking a few ideas from the popular Vampire Survivor-like genre along with a sprinkle of the wave and upgrade system from Brotato, it weaves it into something unique I think you're going to enjoy. So it's basically SteampunkShip Survivors? Airship Survivors? Something like that anyway.

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A Menagerie of Monsters - Engage enemies with different attack patterns and abilities. Fight massive boss monsters that require cunning and firepower to defeat.

An Array of Airships - Pick the slow but powerful Battleship, the nimble Copter, or the Science Vessel with its railgun and energy shield. Build a strategy around their strengths and weaknesses. Don't feel the need to ever stop? The Megaplane will suit you. Want to build a mighty fleet? Start with the Flagship.

A Panoply of Powerups - Equip your ship with cannons, rockets, aerial torpedoes, mines, gatling guns, and more. Strengthen it with modules like ammo elevators, guard barracks, command posts. Host strange temples.

Improve your ship with training for your crew, more armor plating, or senior officers. Pick a doctrine to gain its advantages: terrify your enemies, dodge incoming attacks, make your money through trade. Find powerful combinations that lay waste to your enemies.

Charismatic Captains - Unlock captains for your ship that give you powerful advantages and disadvantages and change the rules of your game.

Strange Stelae - -Temples and monoliths as well as more familiar ports float in the skies, changing the game rules in parts of the map. Disadvantage your enemies and boost your abilities with careful positioning.

With the demo out now I've had a chance to have a little blast with it and it's a lot of fun. Enemies are varied with some fun behaviours, there's elements of the map that can help or hurt you, the enemies weapons are a good mixture and there's just so many little mechanics that add up to a surprising experience here. The shop UI needs a bit of work to be simpler to understand but other than that, not many issues with the game from the demo.

Click pictures to enlarge.

One really interesting mechanic is fire. You're in a flying ship, and various enemy bullets will set you on fire. It takes time to get it put out, and will repeatedly bring down your health but there's numerous upgrades to speed that up, or reduce fire damage as a whole. Another fun one is the weapon upgrade system which is multi-tier. For example you could upgrade a Cannon with heated shots to set enemies alight, or armour piercing to deal with bigger nuisances. You can even get little ships to fly around with and upgrade those as well.

If you enjoy the crazy over-powered builds you can make in all the survivor-likes, you should feel right at home here. The demo is obviously very limited but a great example of what's to come. I have a feeling I'm going to be spending most of this evening playing more of the Airships: Lost Flotilla demo. I'm itching for more right now. This is my new favourite thing.

I had a little chance to catch up with Stark about the continued Linux support. Here's what they had to say:

How do you feel about continued Linux support?

DS: "Very strongly! With the continued enshittification of computers in general and operating systems in particular, it's very important to me that the software I make is on an open source platform. We've seen again and again that companies will simply decide to shut down and remove support for things that no longer directly profit them, and so I want to have my games on Linux, so I know that people can keep playing them."

How difficult is it for you to support Linux directly like this?

DS: "Very easy because I use Linux as my development OS. For Lost Flotilla I'm using Monogame, which is based on XNA, which Microsoft abandoned (see "shut down and remove support" above) but now has a very nice open-source cross-platform implementation. So I just develop on Linux and then compile for Windows and Linux, and briefly switch over to Windows on occasion to make sure the game works properly. I also think this is a lot more future-proof than Unity, which seems to be doing its best to alienate developers, and never got around to making a usable Linux version.

Plus, Linux gamers, even if there aren't that many of them, are really an asset to a developer because they tend to be very good about giving feedback and reporting bugs."

What are your thoughts on Proton and the Steam Deck?

DS: "I actually got a Steam Deck while developing Lost Flotilla, because I wanted the game to run on it. With the previous game, Airships: Conquer the Skies, I gave no thought to controller support, and so now while it technically runs on the Deck, the experience is pretty terrible. With Lost Flotilla, mouse, keyboard and controller are all first-tier ways of playing the game.

For playing games, I've found the Deck works well for a limited type of games. There's a lot of games that are "verified to work" on the Deck but are painfully hard to actually play, and some other ones that supposedly "partially supported" that work perfectly fine. If you've got 20/20 vision, anyway. So for me it sits in a bit of an awkward spot: most of the games that are fun to play on the Deck, I can also play on my phone, and for most big complicated strategy games the screen is just too small and the controls just aren't precise enough.

As for Proton, I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, it worries me that it's basically giving up on native Linux games. On the other hand, it will arguably hollow out Windows, turning it from an operating system to a platform specification to make games for, which can then be played from the OS of your choice. Which sounds nice."

More about David Stark:

An indie game developer from Zurich, where he lives with his partner and two orange cats. Apart from making games, he co-founded and co-organises Swiss Game Hub, an incubator for Swiss game developers. In his copious free time, he reads history books and makes pottery.

You can go and wishlist Airships: Lost Flotilla on Steam and there's a demo available right now too.

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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly. Find me on Mastodon.
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Pyretic May 9
QuoteAs for Proton, I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, it worries me that it's basically giving up on native Linux games. On the other hand, it will arguably hollow out Windows, turning it from an operating system to a platform specification to make games for, which can then be played from the OS of your choice. Which sounds nice.

So he echoes many of the sentiments we have here. In my opinion, I can completely understand the idea that Native Linux games could disappear, but I also doubt that it will happen. With the rise of Godot and open-source frameworks like MonoGame, games are coming out with first-rate Linux support out-of-the-box. Plus, I've heard it said a few times here that Native Linux games weren't all that great to begin with. Such as Black Mesa.
Pikolo May 9
Wishlisted, seems fun
Developer seems pretty cool.
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