Lacking meat on its bones, Skelattack has disjointed items and elements that add as much as create a clumsy, although heartwarming, aspect-scrolling platformer. You can see snippets of a exact platformer in Skelattack, however they’re too sporadic and underutilized to essentially make you sweat. In a recreation centered on a human invasion of the afterlife, there certain aren’t very many enemies, and most of them stay in place or transfer like molasses, emulating the useless excess of the nice and cozy-blooded people they’re presupposed to be. Skelattack’s id disaster is additional fueled by its far too temporary size, which prevents any of its stable concepts from coming into their very own.
Starring a chipper skeleton named Skully and his lovable bat-pal Imber, Skelattack tells the story of a peculiarly joyous world of the useless, dubbed Aftervale, that is abruptly invaded by the wretched people who search immortality.
Developed by Ukuza, Skelattack is the debut title in Konami’s new push to publish video games made by Western studios. And whereas your thoughts doubtless jumps to Castlevania whenever you suppose Konami, Skelattack does not evoke the labyrinthine design of the writer’s influential franchise. Instead, what you get is a linear world with few situations the place you are in a position to go off the overwhelmed path to uncover hidden chests with upgrades or foreign money. The world is separated right into a handful of various areas, every with its personal obstacles to cross and enemies to both keep away from or eradicate. All of them wind up feeling moderately related in apply, since Skelattack does not actually construct on its mechanics over time.
Skully can double-leap, a capability that’s utilized in virtually each room. Whether wall-leaping, vaulting via a maze of precarious spikes, or avoiding projectiles, Skelattack’s greatest segments ask you to be dialed in. In its strongest spots, you must string collectively jumps whereas navigating minefields of harmful objects. Carefully timing your jumps and double jumps to land safely on stable floor might be thrilling, particularly whenever you’re pressured to think about not solely the present leap, however your subsequent transfer, too. These nice moments are all about committing to a plan and executing it to perfection. Unfortunately, the briefness of those tough maneuvers and the absence of actual stakes suffocates an journey that exhibits glimpses of greatness and genuinely intelligent platforming sequences in locations.
Even although Skelattack has tight controls and fluid animations, each the platforming and fight undergo on account of the format of many areas. Skelattack fails to capitalize on its pulse-racing sections by inserting an excessive amount of cushion between them. Or, in some instances, sequences are damaged up by an extreme variety of checkpoints, that are present in virtually each room and in larger numbers in additional taxing rooms. When the specter of immediate demise disappears, you are left going via the motions in a world that’s now unusually unthreatening. Occasionally, you’re taking management of Imber to navigate via tight areas, fluttering via obstacles. Though it is a good change of tempo, these situations are additionally fleeting.
Death additionally causes you to lose a portion of the gems you’ve got accrued. They float on the spot of your demise, and you’ll retrieve them in full so long as you do not die on the best way again. Otherwise, you retain shedding increasingly more with every demise. This is difficult by the truth that when you’re impaled by spikes, retrieving misplaced gems is annoyingly difficult, as a result of they float proper above the spikes. This might sound like a giant deal, however gems are trivial and the purchases you make along with your fortune do not matter a lot when demise is not a lot of a punishment to start with.
Over the course of your journey to cease the people, you should buy upgrades on your well being and numerous talents: heal, a projectile assault, a 3rd leap, and a secret capability that comes into play far too late to make an impactful distinction. All of your talents use magic, however the one actually helpful one is heal, which winds up negating the problem of what would in any other case be powerful boss fights. Once you buy an improve or two for heal, you’ll be able to brute power each fight encounter–namely bosses–without having to fret about dying.
Skelattack has fluid, although rudimentary fight. You merely have to slash your sword and hop away to keep away from assaults. And your solely actual alternative to utilize the fight is in boss fights. However, as a result of you’ll be able to take numerous injury and heal your self immediately, these properly-designed bosses–a flying archer, a robust mage, a tag group duo of a warrior and lute participant, and more–wind up being far much less formidable than they initially seem. It’s disappointing contemplating that boss fights truly make fairly good use of the platforming mechanics, usually happening in dynamic rooms the place you must use the environment–platforms, shifting conveyor belts, and spring-loaded mushrooms–to get hits in. Sadly, because you shortly develop into overpowered to bodily threats, these fights do not have the chance to shine.
Outside of boss fights, it is shocking how few enemies are positioned throughout the map. Sword-wielding knights make up the majority of the enemies, however they’re so sluggish and unimposing that they could as properly not be there. Other enemies, for essentially the most half, act extra as further environmental fixtures moderately than true threats, as they’re seemingly incapable of shifting from their positions. Magic-wielding enemies lob fireballs, whereas stoic people enjoying lutes hurl sound waves that may push you off target whereas leaping round. If extra prevalent in numbers and dynamic, these enemies would add a significant layer to Skelattack; as a substitute, their minimal presence amplifies the uneven actuality of this world, and fight will get pushed into the again of your thoughts till the subsequent boss showdown.
Despite its stability and development woes, Skelattack nonetheless manages to sneak in some attraction in spots. Lighthearted dialogue between Skully and Imber and the opposite denizens of Aftervale is usually humorous and flies within the face of what’d you anticipate from skeletons, rat kings, imposing rock beings, and sentient flames. There’s a kindness in Skelattack that’s cozy and infectious. Its welcoming character mixed with colourful visuals and melodic soundtrack make even damp sewers, a fiery cavern, and a literal dungeon appear moderately nice. It’s only a disgrace that the second-to-second gameplay does not reside as much as the endearing ambiance.
Skelattack strikes shortly towards its conclusion, with the journey to stave off the invasion winding down in about 4 hours. There’s nothing fallacious with brief video games that may be performed in a day or two, however what’s right here by no means turns into a completely realized expertise. The size would not be an issue if Skelattack delivered a completely realized expertise, however it fails to take action. Skelattack has flashes of pleasure and delight, and there is no denying that it feels good in movement, however lackluster stage design and inconsequential fight let its sound platforming down. Unlike the inhabitants of Aftervale, Skelattack lacks soul.