It is totally bizarre, but not the same kind of bizarre. It’s…it’s hard to say because it’s very highly subjective, but Sea had this kind of sinister mood Skies doesn’t really have. The weirdness is here. It is totally there and comes in several flavors.
I’ll try to wrap my thoughts around it. See, Sea has a rather simple premise. You have a ship, there’s a weird ocean underground, go explore it. Skies is different. It is about locomotives that go between stars which themselves are living beings. The weirdness is more pervasive, but also in a way more…grounded. It’s a very matter-of-fact, casual weirdness - which doesn’t exclude poetry (it is a very poetic game, with some very striking and unique ideas) which is mor pervasive than in Sea. It’s not an archipelago of weirdness like in Sea, but an entire continent of poetic, eerie weirdness.
The tone of Sea is very much there, but it’s also altered in a way that makes the game more…enthusiastic would perhaps be the word ? It’s a game that is very confident in its ambience and worldbuilding - and rightfully so - and lets you fully immerse into it, more than Sea - in which you always felt like you were just barely scratching the surface and trying to desperately make sense of things.
Perhaps the Verne/Lovecraft comparison isn’t very apt. What I wanted to say is that Skies gives you much more agency - both in terms of narrative and gameplay - and lets you revel in its world rather than force you to fear it first and foremost. Take you, the player character, for example. In Sea, you are very much a blank slate, for the most part. The player character in Skies is much more defined (as you level up, you build your past self through story snippets that double as skill progression - a very brilliant idea) and has much more agency over the world (for example, in the first region, the Reach, there is a faction system that you can heavily influencen much more than in Sea). I’m playing as a revolutionary and a scholar, and I feel like one.
To me Verne isn’t steampunk - and indeed if you look at Verne’s work, very few of them have anything to do with steampunk in terms of aesthetic and feel. Skies has something of 20 000 Leagues Under the Sea for me. There’s mystery. There are even terrifying mysteries or simply bizarre things, but at the same time you are given the tools, abilities and means to explore these mysteries and revel in the beauty of this world, rather than cower in fear and try to find a barely-lit path in a dark, openly hostile world.
TL;DR : Skies has the same mood as Sea, but it uses it in a different way. A cheeky steampunk adventure this is not. A game that deals with exploration, knowledge, the feeling of awe in front of both mankind, other creatures and nature’s achievements while still stating that some things have to remain hidden and mysterious ? Exactly. And this is very much the spirit of Verne’s books, at least to me. The Nautilus would feel right at home here. Not the weird steampunk submarine of the Disney movie but the sleek, mysterious electric machine of the book , ready to dive in the weirdness of the ocean and controled by a mysterious, yet fascinating man.
And this must be emphasized - Skies is much bigger than Seas. I’ve barely explored half of the starting sector and I already follow a good dozen story arcs. I haven’t reached the true weirdness yet even if I got a taste of it.