Beyond a Steel Sky – Review
Follow Genre: Puzzle Adventure
Developer: Revolution Software
Publisher: Revolution Software
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One / Series X|S, Switch
Tested on: PS4

Beyond a Steel Sky – Review

Site Score
Good: Great puzzle mechanics, Amazing world building, Cool graphics style, Often very funny
Bad: Progression can feel slow due to walking back and forth a lot to solve puzzles
User Score
(1 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Beyond a Steel Sky is a story-rich puzzle game set in a colorful cyberpunk setting, and developed by indie game studio Revolution Software. The game features beautiful retro-futuristic environments and interesting puzzle mechanics. Beyond a Steel Sky is a sequel to Beneath a Steel Sky, a game from 1994 which was quite popular at the time. As a fan of the original, we hoped this game would live up to the legacy of its predecessor. In the end, we were very pleasantly surprised by this one.


The game starts out with a nice comic-book-style intro, telling about how a man named Robert Foster goes out on a fishing trip with his best friend Max, and Milo – the young son of his friend. Suddenly, a strange robotic vehicle piloted by androids bursts out from beneath the surface of the lake, and the androids kidnap Milo and knock out Max and Robert, leaving them unconscious. Determined to get Milo back, Foster follows the tracks of the peculiar vehicle through the wastelands, eventually ending up at a city named Union City.

You’ll start the game at the edge of this city, trying to get in and find out whether Milo has been taken into the city. However, for a non-citizen, it isn’t easy to infiltrate into this seemingly utopian city. As you explore and talk to the people populating the city, you’ll learn that this is the very same city that Foster has explored in the past, uncovering a dark plot and eventually leaving the city in the care of his robot friend Joey, leading it to a better, brighter future. Superficially this seems to have worked out well, although you’ll quickly learn that some unintended consequences might have turned the city into less than the ideal society it seems to be.

Beyond a Steel Sky is the sequel to the 1994 game Beneath a Steel Sky. The main character is the same, and you’ll meet other characters you might still remember from the first game. There are a ton of references to the original story, which is really cool if you’ve played that game. However, it’s not at all necessary to play the first game to understand the story and get to know the characters. References to the old game are explained in the context of the new story, and learning about them might actually encourage players to pick up the original game!


The introduction animation is in a really cool comic book style, with comic panels and speech bubbles, featuring simple animations to add movement to the scenes. The style of the game itself is also very colorful with simple, cartoon-esque models, making it look like a comic book or animated movie. The characters and environments look like they are drawn, with cel-shaded coloring.

The city has a beautiful futuristic design with a nice retro-futuristic touch. The environments are really gorgeous, and while playing the game, you’ll stop often just to take in the colorful views of the city. It’s a nice deviation from the typical ‘gritty dark city with neon signs all over’ formula, which became sort of the norm for cyberpunk titles. This retro-futuristic style was also featured in the original game, and it’s really nice to be able to experience this beautiful city in a fully 3D environment!

The characters you’ll meet are quirky and charming, with a strong sense of personality, which is often clearly reflected in their character designs. The characters are a tad exaggerated, but they don’t feel over-the-top or too cartoonish to be believable. The animations are smooth and generally well-executed, although there were some glitches where a character model got stuck in a weird position, or when background characters walked against someone you were talking to.


This game’s dialogues are fully voiced, and the voice acting is really well done. Dialogues are often pretty witty and funny, and the personality of the characters becomes instantly clear from the way they talk. The sound effects are fitting, and the music is pretty atmospheric and suits the universe well.


Beyond a Steel Sky is a point ‘n click action-puzzle adventure game, focusing on the narrative of the game. It features a lot of conversations with the colorful characters you’ll meet, in which you’ll learn about the world and the city, but also gain hints to solve the many puzzles you’ll encounter.

The puzzles you need to solve are rather nice and well intertwined with the story, but the solutions aren’t always obvious and sometimes rather obtuse. There is generally only a single way to solve any given puzzle, so you have to try to interact with everything you have access to within an area, until you’ll find the right solution. Especially at the beginning, it’ll be easy to overlook an item as a background item, so you’ll need to explore meticulously to find all interactible items. When you investigate objects, the main character usually gives a hint about what you can use it for, pointing you in the right direction. Solving the puzzles generally involves a lot of walking back and forth between characters, and talking to them repeatedly after each step of the puzzle, which can feel a bit tedious at times.

Luckily, the game features a hint system you can use when stuck, which will first provide you with some hints, and if that doesn’t help enough, it’ll point you in the right direction and eventually give you the full solution. However, using the hint system does mean you will miss out on an achievement.

Many of the puzzles involve hacking, which is a really cool game mechanic and a fun way of solving puzzles. You’ll mostly try to order robotic servants around to do things differently than they’d normally do, so you can use them to get into previously inaccessible areas. To hack any system in your vicinity, you’ll use a handheld scanner to find systems you can connect to. The hacking interface looks like a simple programming interface, with interconnected blocks containing logical functions and parameters. To hack these, you can switch around and rearrange these blocks and parameters, which will override the programming of the many devices and robots within the city. This will then cause them to execute their usual tasks differently, which often leads to hilarious outcomes.


Beyond a Steel Sky is a nice puzzle game with a strong focus on the narrative of the game. The story and world building are pretty good, so if you like story-rich games you’ll surely enjoy this title. The game features lots of comedy, both during the dialogues as well as in the eventual solutions of the puzzles. The dialogues are fully voiced, and the many characters you’ll meet are full of personality, which is also reflected in their colorful visual design. The puzzle mechanics are pretty good, especially the hacking system you’ll use to solve most puzzles is really well done! Game progression can feel a bit slow sometimes as you puzzle your way through the city. The latter is mainly due to the process involving a lot of walking back and forth exploring, talking to people, and investigating objects. However, overall this is a really great game to pick up if you enjoy puzzle games and comedy.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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Beyond a Steel Sky - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

I'm a LARP writer, freelance teacher and everlasting PhD student, and an avid gamer. Nowadays I game mostly on PC, but I love my retro playstation 1 & 2 as well :) I like watching anime, movies and series, and read books & comics whenever I have time!

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