Have you ever wondered what happens to the unfortunate skeletons you usually cut down in the catacombs of Diablo, Minecraft Dungeons, and other well-known dungeon crawlers? Who was he before he became a monster? What could the treasure you wanted so much mean to him? What could have been his motivation at all? Skelattack seeks to answer these rarely asked questions.
But before you get into a deep depression for dealing with such unexpectedly serious topics calm down, the action-platformer released by Konami approaches this creative baseline in a sufficiently light and frivolous tone. It’s time to see what’s going on in the depths of the catacombs from the perspective of the skeletons!
So Skelattack starts the story from the other side of a dungeon where the protagonist, Skully, and his loyal bat buddy can’t enjoy the hospitality of Aftervale for long, as people try to steal the Blue Flame, the key to the existence of the undead population. So it will be our job to stop them, and despite the serious stakes, we can have a good adventure from the very first moment, because the cartoon-like visual world and Skully's funny animation provide a great atmosphere, as well as lots and lots of funny dialogues.
The not so dark underworld
The greatest strength of Skelattack is its looks and great humor. Hand-drawn graphics with a wide range of colors and imaginative characters represent an extremely high standard. The locations are extremely diverse, during the adventure we have to go into underworld pubs, grassy, wooded areas, mines, canals, but even among volcanic rocks. Unfortunately, the brilliant work of the creative team is greatly undermined bad level design. Often, progress depends on luck rather than dexterity.
The atmosphere is further enhanced by the dialogues written in the parade. The game has a sensational sense of humor, which is mainly seen in the conversations between the two protagonists, but the NPCs who helped our way were also given awesome lines. The background music further enhances the atmosphere of the game, it fits in perfectly with this drawn world.
However, the joy caused by the creative atmosphere, the fun basic tone and the amusing characters is soon lost, unfortunately, because at the level of gameplay, Skelattack is not even able to approach the standard represented by the appearances ...
The ordeals of a skeleton warrior
The developers of Dublin’s indie team, Ukuza, seemed to have been unable to decide where they wanted to go within the side-view platformer genre, so they took inspiration from everywhere. Of course, this isn't a problem in itself, in fact, the great games of the genre can combine different ideas without any problems, but Skelattack isn't really good in it - and what's worse, it never comes together into a single whole.
Let me give you an example. As in any similar game, there is a basic collectible here: in this case, blue crystals that fall from defeated opponents and are scattered all over them on the tracks. If you die at any time, you will leave some of them, but if you go back for them without dying, you can still save them (completely standard soulslike mechanics). It’s all beautiful and good, but there are plenty of situations where it’s simply not worth the risk, because the rewards are negligible in exchange for the risk, as you die you lose more crystals with a death than what awaits you behind a heavier series of jumps. This is a huge design flaw that I was shocked by even hours later, as it somewhat kills one of the most basic elements of the genre, the discovery.
Platforming and discovery itself are not particularly exciting beyond the ones outlined above, but the more serious problem is more with the fight, which can only be called "functional". The developers created fantastic NPC, but looks like when they reached creating the opponents somehow lost their creativity. There are only few types and they are not too complicated to defeat. Although one or two upgrades and new abilities can be acquired during the adventure, even with them, the whole fight system is without dynamics. As a result, Skelattack can't offer much more than a browser flash game, even in the boss battles.
It stays undead
The case of Skelattack is unfortunate because it shows how much love the developers have worked with it, but many times the enthusiasm is not enough to make a lasting impression. Although it would be worth his money smoothly based on his sight and atmosphere, he fails miserably from a technical point of view, grabbing him among the mediocre titles of the genre. It’s hard to call the gameplay unique, too, taking too much from the really successful indie projects of recent years, but it lacks exactly the plus that made the eerily similar Hollow Knight great. Of course, we can't say that Skelattack would not be a fun experience, it may be worth pulling in during a sale, but it will be very difficult to impress platform lovers.