January 30, 2020
Fabraz, Umaiki Games
A great group of foes await me. Orcs, zombies vomiting bile, and knights block a clear path to my goal. Do I mow through them with my cardboard sword? Smash them to smithereens with my club? Or do I risk it all for the pleasure of swiping at them with a baguette? These are just some of the fun choices I got to experience in adventure/action RPG, Skellboy.
Skellboy follows the story of risen skeleton hero Skippy. It takes place in the Cubold Kingdom where the town magician, Squaruman, is dumped by the Kingdom’s princess and goes into a rage-fuelled frenzy, rising spirits and the undead upon the once peaceful town. Talk about a whole lot of baggage. As a result, Skippy is awoken from their slumber and is quick to jump to the task to save the town and defeat the rogue Mage.
In traversing the world of the Cubold Kingdom, there’s plenty to see and do. You’ll explore dungeons filled with zombies and bats that, when defeated, are sliced and disintegrated into pieces much like torn cardboard. Set dressings pop, as do the variety of friendly foes that also share this cardboard cut-out appearance. It all leaves the game and its world feeling like a delicately crafted stage play. However there’s plenty of variation too. You’ll explore within a castle’s walls, a graveyard, sewers, and lush farmland just to name a few.
Combat and abilities you pick up throughout the game are what shines brightest in Skellboy. As hinted to earlier, you’ll get a variety of wacky and wild weapons at your disposal to help you combat foes. On top of this, hero Skippy can quite literally disassemble different body parts and replace them with others, now imbuing them with abilities. They could don a wig and cute pink skirt to fool a guard into giving them access to a new area, put on a jack o’ lantern head for light source, or gain gargoyle wings for clearing some distance.
“Skellboy feels like the perfect example of the charm indie games can offer.”
Skellboy feels like the perfect example of the charm indie games can offer. Vibrant and varying skiptune 8bit music plays as you’re exploring the game’s many environments with each main character offering their own unique personality and quippy dialogue… there’s so much to admire. Skellboy feels like a perfect fit for the Nintendo Switch. It’s incredibly reminiscent of classic Nintendo adventures and RPGs like Paper Mario.
There’s a surprising and pleasing amount of depth to Skellboy as well. There’s fun choices in the game that you occasionally face. Early on I stumbled upon a knight trapped inside a guillotine. I had the option to free the knight of course, but instead I opted to cruelly lower the blade and finish them off. This netted me a sweet little helmet that gave me an armour boost! I found myself laughing at the ridiculousness this game has to offer, whether it be the aforementioned body mods or the meta references to pixels in dialogue.
The only issue I have with Skellboy is thankfully quite nitpicky. The camera work in particular can occasionally be a terror. Skippy is tracked from a relatively close isometric camera view. You can’t change the direction of the camera and thankfully it keeps up with your hero quite well. Although it can also be a huge annoyance when you’re looking for loot in those tight corners. Multiple times I lost my positioning only because Skippy was obscured by a wall that was now taking up the screen.
- Brilliant throwback to classic adventure RPGs
- Bopping 8bit tunes!
- Fun combat and customisable abilities
- Charming characters and dialogue
- At times frustrating camera placement and arrangement
In short, Skellboy is a game that served as a brilliant throwback to an era of gaming I simply missed. It’s bright, colourful and oozing with an endless amount of charm. Anyone that is a fan of classic Nintendo RPGs like Paper Mario or Super Mario 64 should definitely add this to your Switch library. Get slashing and get adventuring, folks!