Airship Q, better known to PC owners as Wondership Q, is one of those games that seems as though it might avoid a Vita launch worldwide. Fortunately, an English patch for the Asian releases means anyone could import a copy of this game, which usually runs for under $20, and enjoy it. While it seems like Terraria with cat people, there’s actually much more to it than that. But, don’t let that confuse you. While there is greater progression here, success comes from endlessly exploring and mining.
In Airship Q, players follow a young explorer who attempted to build an airship and fly to Laputa, an island floating in the sky. Despite being successful in this endeavor, a witch captured the player’s avatar, her younger brother, Lemuel, transformed the player into a cat and threw them into a jail. While you are able to escape and take a ship to look for statues that will bestow new recipes for helpful items, your brother remains captured and you’re… well… still a cat. The first island teaches you how to make a Bone Hammer, the most basic tool for acquiring materials and defeating enemies, as well as instructions on getting together ladders and torches, but the rest offer more complicated recipes and resources.
What follows is more like a Metroidvania with crafting-elements than a true open-world affair like Terraria. As you fly through the sky on the airship you can build up and improve, you’ll see arrows directing you to the next statue you’ll need to uncover. Recipes from previous statues are almost always needed to reach new ones, giving you abilities to create new equipment or features that make your character or airship better. The omnipresent arrow is always guiding you in the general direction of your next major point of interest, though landmasses and enemies will get in the way along the way.
This means the key to success is approaching Airship Q as though it were Terraria. Statues could be buried deep within floating islands, hidden away behind doors that require colored keys. The first thing you want to do, after approaching your initial two islands, is collect materials. Do your best to tear these areas apart for scrap. You’ll need all these items.
Once you have the first two islands destroyed and have collected some ladders and materials, you’ll want to start fortifying your ship. While you might not see as many aerial threats right away, at least ones that require cannons or guns to destroy, you will eventually. You’ll eventually need to build or steal a boiler and copper pipes from an enemy ship. You’ll then need to place cannons and firing levers on your ship to defend it. Since these are complicated to make, your best bet is to invade an enemy ship that has one, wipe out the crew with your weapons, then steal every valuable part you can. Cannons, like your weapons, have durability ratings and eventually fall apart from normal use, so it makes much more sense to scavenge materials.
Once you have a good number of recipes under your belt and a ship that has some cannons, it’s time to start searching for green crystal keys. These are needed for the shrines so you can eventually ascend the witch’s tower and, you know, “beat” Airship Q. These are hidden on most of the major islands. For example, the starting island has two of these keys. Each subsequent, notable island tends to have at least one key on it. The islands with La Puter’s Fortress, a large lake and a volcano each have two keys, however, requiring you to usually dig or explore a little more than usual.
While there are all of these objectives, Airship Q really is a game where you’re supposed to take your time and explore the scenery. It is “shorter” than similar games, what with the number of recipes available after reaching statues in shrines, but there is still that sense of taking your time, rather than attempting to rush from one point of interest to another. Especially since enemy airships and flying monstrosities can be quite daunting. As long as someone takes the time to occasionally ransack an opposing ship and gradually dig into a floating island, they should be able to make the most of the game.