Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Released: 24.10.2018 (06.10.2015 for PC/Mobile)
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Mobile
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4 Pro
Acquired: A copy of this game was provided by a publisher for review purpose
World War 3 has raged the area, no one answers the phone and our character is hungry – obviously, the right thing to do is fighting your way down to the first floor! As a roguelike Skyhill focuses a lot on dying and trying again, but how well does that recipe work for the game?
Is there really any story to Skyhill? Well, sort of, there’s a quick introduction, given with slides, and there are some notes/recordings to find out and about in the hotel. I never really got the hang of the story though. Okay, there’s a bomb going off which makes mutants, and our hero needs to get out. Other than that I’m baffled, and I honestly don’t think it’s enough story to get a score.
Unfortunately, Skyhill looks rather simple. In a cartoony drawn style, neither the playable character nor the mobs felt like they had any unique features. The same goes for the rooms, they pretty much look the same, and although I totally get that a hotel will have the same kind of rooms in general, I find it hard to believe that there are no differences whatsoever. Another thing that kept annoying me, although a small detail, was the symbols showing what you tried to interact with; which were too small and difficult to see for my liking.
One positive to take from the drawn style is the fact that the game runs very smoothly. There’s not any magnificent textures or objects to load, and as a result, you won’t see any stuttering or loading between rooms.
The whole premise of Skyhill is trying and dying. With roguelike elements to make each restart new and unique. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work. Fighting monsters is purely based on your luck if you hit them or not. Whatever you scavenge seems to be pure luck. And the game never (and I do mean never) awarded me for checking out more rooms than the absolute minimum.
Skyhill has some of the same systems as The Last of Us when it comes to crafting “usables”. For example, lots of metal sheets allow you to make nails, which you’ll need to craft weapons. Personally, I found the game to offer way too few items to craft, even after unlocking better craft benches and I solely had to rely on lucky scavenging. I’m no Gladstone Gander, I’m more like Donald Duck… So my luck kept failing me. So basically I found the gameplay to offer little, and what little it did offer was way too luck-based.
The control schematics for Skyhill are very simplistic, but somehow incredibly clumsy to operate. You’d think it would all be controlled with the arrows/analog stick, but think again! You select the rooms with arrows, but then you for some reason I cannot comprehend, select items to interact with inside that room with L2/R2… Oh, and you pressed the arrow keys inside a room since that seemed natural? Now you’ve selected another room and the camera switches focus. I will admit I have quite a short temper, but it’s been a long time since I’ve been this close to throwing my controller across the room and into the TV. The controls simply don’t work for me, and I don’t understand why they haven’t been sticking with the natural buttons. (Just patch it, please! I can help you with the programming, it’s not difficult!)
Skyhill is focusing a lot on being replayed, again and again (and again). That in itself isn’t wrong, given that you might unlock new abilities between runs, but I found it to become boring after a very short while. It felt like me finding useful stuff was completely random. Ultimately it didn’t allow for any learning and development for me between each new restart, as it was seemingly nothing I could do to ensure my survival. I rarely felt the need for another go immediately, unless the first one was done in less than five minutes. And other roguelikes can have me trapped for hours (I’m looking at you The Binding of Isaac).
Replay Value 5
Altogether I can’t help but feel disappointed with Skyhill… I didn’t expect a great story or the best graphics, but I assumed a roguelike would have good gameplay and a simple but effective control system, and that is simply not the case. I found it boring, and the controls are close to unbearable, even though they are next to none existent. If you really want to give this a go, I suggest giving the mobile version a go, at least the touch controls would make more sense.
User Review( votes)
- Runs well
- Not much of a story
- Little gameplay
- Too much luck based