First announced in 2017, Skeletal attack it is one of those titles which, by taking time, risked disappearing from the radar of players. The Ukuza roguelike immediately caught the eye with its beautiful artistic component, however, thanks to the assertion of works like Hollow Knight, the fear of not being able to surprise was palpable. The wait is now over, Skelattack is about to hit the shelves, and we’re finally ready to tell you about it.
The plot begins with a pretty basic incipit: we play the role of Skully, a recently deceased skeleton who is preparing to begin his new life after his death. We accompany Imber, a bat who has the innate ability to go from tender to boring in record time. Shortly after departure we meet Elzedon, an old man who explains that after we wake up we have to face Memory, a kind of adventure in which we can find some of our memories, to understand who we were when we were. still alive.
At the end of the first level, which is just kind of an introduction to the basic gameplay mechanics, Elzedon is kidnapped and we find that the humans from the surface have invaded the underworld in search of something specific. The adventure took a little over four hours to be almost 100% complete, which is why we are not going to share more details on the events recounted.
But what we want to highlight is how the plot was able to keep the interest high, ending at the right time and with some much-appreciated twists, able to increase its depth as much as possible. The only downside is the dialogues, often too wordy and lightened only by Imber’s pungent comments or lines from your protagonists.
Speaking of gameplay, we are faced with a set of classic mechanics of the genre, with the ability to attack with the sword, the only real weapon available, the ability to do a double jump, to use the walls as a side. and slide over it to fall Slow down. In addition to that, we have four skills to choose from, which are: healing, rib-boomerang to attack from a distance, triple jump and radar to identify hidden secrets.
The character growth hasn’t been particularly deep: we can actually only increase our maximum health and strength, with specific items hidden in the levels, or improve our skills with two power-ups each to be able to buy. To do this, you need to collect blue crystals, scattered around the maps or dropped by defeated enemies. However, you have to be careful not to die or else you will return to the last checkpoint visited and a handful of these crystals will remain on the corpse, ready to be retrieved or lost forever.
The game world is not particularly large and has a total of four macro areas, each built around a specific theme. For example, you have to venture into the putrid sewers and then continue in a green garden populated with talking mushrooms. Even in terms of level design, these environments have obvious differences, thus preventing possible monotony in levels. It is also worth noting some passages that were worked out in unexpected ways, able even to recreate stealth phases. The only flaw may be that the enemies are too similar in terms of attack types.
However, one aspect that we did not particularly like concerns the degree of difficulty of the different elements that make up the levels. The multiple obstacles facing the player are not properly balanced with each other. Enemies generally do little damage, and even boss fights don’t represent particularly convincing battles. The biggest obstacle is therefore given by blocks of points, which come in different forms, and which fill the levels.
These kill by casual contact. In the game, there are other threats that amount to certain death, such as large hanging blades, guillotines, or pressure plates that descend from the ceiling, but all of these threats can be dealt with at the right time.
Importantly, these elements do not saturate the levels with their presence, as do the previously mentioned death squares, which are found in almost all areas and are often positioned specifically in uncomfortable spots. Usually that wouldn’t be a problem, but in Skelattack they’re almost the only real threat, all made worse by hitboxes that didn’t always feel right to us.
Finally, the arts sector as a whole is very important. The characters and settings are quite original and the animations created for the dialogues are pleasant to observe. Everything is therefore constantly accompanied by a light soundtrack which, without being intrusive, manages to occupy every empty room or corridor without enemies or obstacles, acting as a perfect accompaniment in the adventure.
Overall, Skelattack is a good title. It’s not particularly long, but the story still manages to be engaging, keeping interest high from start to finish. Too bad for some design choices, if the developers had dared more, the vote would have been higher.
Net of that, however, the production of Ukuza is certainly enjoyable and fans of the genre will appreciate the addition of the title to their library.