Reviews - Updated on April 7, 2022

Relevant for platform: NSW

Sometimes there are games that instantly grab attention with their visual style. You don’t have to go far for examples – one The Last Night trailer was enough for a huge number of people to become interested in the project, not knowing either about the plot or about the gameplay. Skellboy also belongs to such games, although, of course, much less people know about it. It is difficult to pass by this strange voxel world with flat characters and objects.

Lord of the Bones

In the kingdom of Cubold, trouble is that the king sends a message through his butler, in which he reports on the atrocities of the court wizard Skuaruman (this is not the only reference to The Lord of the Rings). Due to the fact that he could not go on a date with the princess, he got angry and decided to call on monsters and the walking dead. Our task is to save the kingdom from complete destruction, defeat all opponents and deal with Squaruman before he does trouble.

For the sake of history, Skellboy is definitely not worth going through – it is not the most interesting in itself, and it literally hurts to read dialogues with characters. Banal phrases, unfunny jokes, lack of humor in moments when it would not seem to hurt – the game has nothing to offer in terms of storytelling. You might think that this happened because of the great emphasis on the gameplay, but there are many questions about it.

Skellboy is an action role-playing game – you travel through locations, fight and collect equipment. In similar games, the inventory is filled with helmets and breastplates, and here everything is about the same, but there is one important difference – the main character is looking not for clothes and armor, but for body parts. Being a skeleton, he can easily change from one torso to another or put a new head on his old skull.

The idea is certainly funny, but that’s where its originality ends. I am glad that new body parts are displayed on the character (usually developers try not to spend resources on this), but there is nothing unusual among things. Weapons increase or decrease attack power, the torso can give two additional “lives”, boots either change the speed of movement, or increase the resistance of the hero when attacking (taking damage, he flies back a little), or affect something else insignificant.

Skellboy game review

The king hardly survives what happened to his possessions.

There are some really funny moments, like rooms where monsters fall from the ceiling, replacing the head you put on with yourself. You have to suffer with inverted controls and quickly look for a normal part of the body in order to “change clothes” and defeat these “headcrabs”. But there are very, very few such episodes – often Skellboy tries to make you laugh with a princess wig, in which you become a charming girl for others, or a weapon in the form of a French baguette, crumbling with every blow.

Skin to bones

Otherwise, this action hardly stands out from the others. The combat system, for example, is eerily primitive – although the character has more and more types of weapons over time, you use the same ones. You can throw a spear, but there is no auto-aim, and doing it yourself with a fixed camera is problematic. The sword is also not the best option – playing with it is corny boring. But with a big mace, it’s more interesting, especially when you hold down the button to charge a blow, and you ruin a pack of opponents the first time.

But there is no depth in the local fights, so they get bored almost instantly. In addition, there is no need to collect any currency here, and only new parts can fall out of enemies. If you have already killed the same zombies 15 times and received a head and legs from them, in the future they will no longer be able to offer something new, so you can run past. But the fights with the bosses turned out to be quite good – they are moderately difficult, they force you to approach battles wisely, guess the right moments to hit and control the environment, filled with all sorts of traps.

Everything else is hard to praise. The fixed camera is sometimes very inconvenient, especially if you need to jump from one platform to another. It’s not so difficult to get confused in the locations, but there are no signs – if you inattentively read the last dialogue, get ready to turn to the walkthrough. And somehow it was already posted on the Internet before the release of the game, as if the developers themselves wrote it.

Skellboy game review

Good bosses are one of the few virtues of the game.

Plus, due to the lack of a map, sometimes you skip save points. I once lost about 15 minutes because, by coincidence, I turned in the right (“plot”) direction several times in a row. The feeling that no one tested the game – only its creators themselves, who know perfectly well where and what they placed.

Bad but not terrible

Another drawback has to do with the pace of the story. In the second half of the game, Skellboy changes and even approaches the “Commendable” rating: you get access to a teleporter that takes you to save points, as well as all previously found body parts with missing details. Exploring the world becomes a little more exciting, and there are side quests for which you get weapons, armor and even useful skills, including the ability to create hats by bringing the necessary materials to the hatter.

But the first half is melancholy and despondency. You go through linear locations to the music that starts to put pressure on your brains with monotony, lazily fight boring enemies, collect trash and read banal dialogues – if not for the review, I would have very quickly parted with the game. She simply has nothing to captivate – only the visual style saves the day. Even the main distinguishing feature (changing body parts) is not implemented in the best way due to the fact that things do not have special skills for which it would be worth changing the wardrobe. Why did the boots fall out of the boss, igniting the ground under my feet, if I myself take damage from the fire? It is better to leave the accelerating shoes found at the very beginning, otherwise the hero is already terribly slow.

The bad performance on the Switch is also upsetting, from which at some point the head starts to hurt. The frame rate drops for any reason – you can walk down the corridor, when suddenly the game freezes for a second, and you teleport a couple of meters ahead. It is especially “fun” to encounter such shortcomings during battles with opponents or a boss and lose health, which the character does not have very much anyway. Fortunately, first-aid kits are found quite often, and this does not cause too many problems.

With such a combat system, it’s hard not to get bored.

***

Skellboy attracts with his appearance, but he can not boast of anything else. As an action game, it is very weak, because you don’t like using weapons, and the tactics against many enemies are the same. As a role-playing game, it is also not very successful – changing body parts is fun at first, but you soon realize that there is nothing special about this system. A few hours after the start, the game becomes a little more exciting, but it will not be easy to sit up to this point.

Pros: original visual style; funny boss battles; The second half of the game is more interesting than the first.

Cons: dreary first half; the absence of at least some pointers and hints on the next step; primitive battles with ordinary enemies; the role-playing system seems non-standard, but in fact it is very simple and banal; annoying soundtrack; bad optimization on Switch.

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