Skelattack is an action platformer with a touch of metroidvania thrown in. This recent release was developed by Ukuza and published by KONAMI. It provides a very enjoyable experience, with decent gameplay, solid music, adorable visuals, and it has a remarkable art style. If this sounds interesting, read on…
Skelattack tells us the story of Skully, a skeleton guy who lives peacefully in the afterlife world with many other skeleton citizens. Their trouble-free life, however, is soon disrupted by a human invasion from the world of the living. The humans’ mission is to acquire a magic crystal that allows the afterlife to exist and use it to prolong the life of their king, making it impossible for people to be reborn in the afterlife. It is revealed to Skully that he was an exceptional warrior in the human world when he was alive. To fulfill his destiny, he is tasked with stopping evil destroying his world.
The storyline is interesting enough, but nothing incredibly engaging. There isn’t much creativity to it other than the setting and it brings rather flat and cliché characters. In all honesty, it has the same personality and consistency as a sack of dirt. On the other hand, the world which it’s set in does feel immersive to an extent and carries a bit of depth to it, with interesting contextual clues such as notes scattered around the areas, containing all sorts of different information and reports, but, sadly, nothing that is developed throughout the game. All that remains from what had the potential to be a more profound narrative is a faint idea of what the main story could have been if it were given more attention. Like a sack of dirt with some colorful sharpie decorations. At least they tried.
With all this said, a great story isn’t the focal point for Skellatack. The energy that’s not used in storytelling is certainly put in other aspects of the game, such as gameplay.
Gameplay – Positives
Though not barrier-breaking or incredibly innovative, Skelattack hits the points required to be a very solid and fun gameplay experience. As the saying goes: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. It does everything that is expected from an action platformer, with a variety of enemies, traps, areas, creative level design, a nice set of unique bosses, tight movement, and satisfying attacks. Each area changes these aspects based on its own unique theme, so expect sentient fireballs flying towards you in the volcano section or ghosts, uh… spooking you or something. A bit odd considering that you play as a skeleton – they should be friends! Essentially, it does nothing new but faithfully replicates the same formula that we all love and puts it in the world of Skelattack.
Gameplay – Negatives
My complaints about the gameplay would be that, for a metroidvania of sorts, there is very little progress in terms of character abilities, dynamics, and world exploration. You can get a few new powers here and there, but these are mostly only essential abilities you are forced to obtain to complete the game. What the players are left with are some basic attacks that are altered very minimally throughout the game and don’t feel satisfying to obtain.
When it comes to exploring the world and unlocking new areas, all the game really offers are shallow objectives of “get X key and bring it to Y lock”. There are barely any side missions and generally just very few things you can do that don’t directly relate to the main objective. Not many of your actions have consequences to the rest of the world. Even the ones that are not necessary for the game to progress have very little impact anywhere else. It feels as if the developers were afraid it’d make the game too complex for a younger public. It would be fun to see your actions affecting details in the main narrative, even if in minor ways. This lack of variety makes Skellatack feel incredibly linear for a genre based on exploring and acquiring new skills to reach different objectives not possible before.
The graphics are easily one of the best parts of the game. They have this very distinctive and adorable art style that is easy to understand, so it’s clear what you can interact with, what’s dangerous and what’s just part of the background.
All the character visuals are very unique and contribute to the charm of the game. They have dynamic designs that quickly define each personality and are generally just nice to look at. Admittedly, they might defy logic sometimes. I mean, I’m pretty sure some bones are not supposed to bend the way they do with certain movements, but they look great.
All the locations and sections have a unique style to them, which is not new in any way but done very competently in Skelattack’s case. Warm colors for the fiery volcano pits, friendly, cheerful compositions for the overworld, you know how it goes. See for yourself, they really did a great job with all of them.
To complement each area and reinforce the themes, Jamal Green has done an amazing job with his music. Each track has the right composition to help define the mood level of intensity in the specific scenarios. Much like the game itself, the soundtrack doesn’t have anything that stands out, but it fits its purpose and can be appreciated by the sheer quality.
Overall, Skellatack is a valid experience that might not be jaw-dropping or ground-breaking, but certainly worth playing for its 5-7 hours of duration. With excellent visuals, engaging gameplay and enjoyable music, the game certainly provides a good time for anyone who just wants to pick something non-complex and short to play, without having to invest much of their time or energy.
Despite a slightly high price and the issues mentioned, I have to say this;
SKELATTACK IS RECOMMENDED
Many thanks to Konami for a PC review code for this title.
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I am Atlas, hello. Honestly, there isn’t really anything worth mentioning about myself, but I am required to create a blurb for this site regardless. I enjoy most types of games, especially stealth and FPS. I also like games with slow motion firefights and/or that feel realistic, as in, you and the enemies both die in the same amount of hits. Max Payne, Hotline Miami, DEADBOLT and My Friend Pedro are good examples.