So here we are again with a new Skelattack demo delivering its promise of charming characters, bad puns and incredibly frustrating gameplay. It is driving me insane one demo at a time.
The core gameplay of Skelattack will be familiar to you if you have played any 2D dungeon crawler, with a spree of difficult traps ranging from roaming and stationary buzzsaws, arrow-firing mechanisms and the awful pointed rocks that end your bony life prematurely…that is until you emerge from the ground at your last checkpoint torch.
Skelattack has seen notable improvements since the last demo, with more interaction from the NPCs that you can discover and chat with, little homes and broken architecture strewn around and a little tavern full of happy dungeon characters. This just goes to show truly how monstrous we all are for invading their homes and stealing their treasure. THAT MEANS YOU TOO.
Speaking of treasure, the new Skelattack demo also revealed more about the story and lore of the dungeon world. When you come across the boss for this area, a shockwave-flinging, horn-helmeted behemoth alongside his fire flinging…fire companion, it is revealed that they are there for a treasure horde and they cannot be stopped. While we do get hints and teases of the world’s lore, this is really the first solid bit of evidence for how the story will unfold. Here’s hoping we can upgrade Skully with a golden sword.
Skelattack folds out in the same fashion, with our intrepid heroes Skully and Imber wall-climbing, jumping, dodging and killing intruders, all the while collecting coins. These coins, some of which you lose when you die, enable you to buy upgrades to Skully’s sword as well as to cycle your currently equipped spell from special rooms containing the spell treasure chests.
While there are a few new rooms in the latest edition of the Skelattack demo, one room, in particular, got me all worked up…the flying room. In a brand new mechanic, Imber took to the skies with Skully as an unlikely passenger featuring all the frustration and challenging trap dodging mechanics of the standard rooms, with the added complication of flying. Huge buzzsaws, pointy rocks EVERYWHERE and narrow points to move through only added to the fun-filled insanity. Out of the couple hundred coins I had gathered throughout my run, I waltzed out of that nightmarish experience with eight. It was worth it though, as the challenge made success all the sweeter.
The humour and charm of Skelattack needs to be highlighted, as while the gameplay is fun, addicting and challenging despite its familiarity, the snappy lines of dialogue and bad jokes give the game amazing personality. The art style is adorable and the humour has to match and while many of the jokes make me groan with their punniness, I love them all the same. My favourite bit of dialogue is definitely Imber’s summation of Skully’s passionate speech as ‘morbid’.
Skelattack has undeniable charm and a wonderful art style that’s combined with gameplay elements that are easy to understand and learn but hard to truly master, but maybe that is my inexperience with playing games on a keyboard talking. Either way, you need to check out and play Skelattack ASAP. Get to it, the dungeon isn’t going to save itself.