We enter an action roguelite with a simple story, but with a very varied mechanics thanks to the multiple characters available.
On January 21, Skul: The Hero Slayer, released its version 1.0 after spending around 10 months in Early Access on Steam. This 2D action roguelite had already been successful and had more than 7,000 opinions with a very positive rating, certainly something that we understand because it is a video game that leaves you with a very good taste in your mouth. Developed by SouthPAW Games and published by NEOWIZ, we will get to know more about Skul, a small and lonely skeleton who was saved from being captured in an attack on his kingdom. Thanks to him, we enter an action-packed story, with fast and frantic combat and a mission: face the Imperial Army and rescue our king. But if we want to highlight something really interesting about the game it is the great variety of characters, thanks to the skulls that we find throughout the game they will turn us into another totally different skeleton. However, for the difficulty we will always depend on the RNG of the game, something that is not very well balanced yet.
A quest to save the kingdom
Skul: The Hero Slayer tells a simple story, not very innovative, but with an interesting plot: the human race has just attacked the castle of the Demon King, although it is something that used to happen and it is nothing new. However, on this occasion the adventurers have decided to join forces with the Imperial Army and the “Hero of Carleon” to launch an unprecedented attack against all the demonic forces and try to end them once and for all. By attacking the fortress with overwhelming numbers of troops, they have managed to destroy it completely, capturing all the demons and infecting its territory with the dark quartz. But, we are in luck. Among all the demons, only one has been spared, Skul, a small and lonely skeleton who will undertake a quest to save his king and end this corruption.
Everything has come by surprise to our character Skul and it was not expected that this great responsibility fell into his hands, that is why now it will be necessary to create a great warrior, to wield a bone bone and eliminate the enemies that cross our path , all to become a true hero. The story will be told as we progress with each dungeon and will sometimes be through dialogues and other times with cinematics. These cutscenes will feature voices in Korean, but with a highly polished Spanish translation.
Multiple characters with great gameplay
In Skul: The Hero Slayer they have known how to create a roguelite that is different with each race, progressing gradually before dying and being able to achieve a very satisfactory progress curve, although being a real challenge. We will have a rest area and where we will end up once we are eliminated. In this place we will be able to do our operations prior to the next race and, we will also be accompanied by some NPCs that we have saved and have wanted to return back to the Demon King’s castle with us, in addition to always giving us an additional item. Our character will have a limited inventory, but with a satisfactory capacity so that we can enjoy and / or think about what objects to include in the new adventure. Skulls, Quintessence, and Items will be included in this inventory.
The most interesting part of the game is the variety in the multiple characters that we can get to play thanks to the different skulls that we meet, always taking into account the luck with the RNG of the game. We can carry up to two skulls that we will exchange between them at will with a short cooldown, but this action will in turn give us an extra ability. The skulls have original and very fun mechanics, in which they will change our appearance and grant us new abilities. There will be characters like The Rider, riding on a motorcycle and expelling flames, a Jester, who drops surprise boxes, or Rock Star, who attacks with his guitar while doing rock. Not all skulls will have the same “value”, as some will be considered normal and others legendary due to their appearance, abilities, and stats within combat.
Actually, the inventory will be filled by those artifacts or objects that we can get or buy in the store. There is a great variety of objects that will grant us passive bonuses such as greater critical attack, greater magic damage or a damage reduction. The holes as we said are limited, a total of nine, and between them we will have to exchange throughout the race to build the best possible combo. And finally, the quintessences, it is an element that will provide us with an additional ability either to do damage, to be able to stay longer in the air or a shield that provides us with invulnerability. This ability, like the abilities of the skulls, will have a cooldown and gives greater variety to the game providing a quite fun experience.
Fight for salvation
The game is based on one of the most important characteristics of roguelikes: changing and quite demanding maps where we will not be able to lower our guard at any time, just as we will never know what awaits us in each one of them. Although there are not a large number of biomes, the way of creating the maps, being always different between them, creates that each experience is also unique. Once we jump into the void, literally, we can find different doors with a specific meaning: those in which our reward is a skull, an object or gold, also those that are the store or where we will fight against a miniboss or the boss will be indicated end of that area. A tutorial was missing at the beginning to understand these details. In each area there will be different enemies, with very similar abilities, but with a greater increase in difficulty. Thanks to all the skills explained above, we will create fast and frantic combats, we can have a lot of fun using the combo that we have created in our inventory and using the skills correctly.
In this fight in search of salvation we will collect different elements that will help us improve our character. On the one hand, there is the gold that will only be used to buy in the store or make exchanges with some NPCs, but we will lose it as soon as they kill us. There are also the bone fragments that will be used to improve the skulls, being able to improve them up to three times, this will provide a very rewarding visual and skill improvement and will also be lost when dying. The only thing that will not be lost will be the dark quartz, an element that we will get throughout the dungeons and that when we die we can exchange in the castle to improve a skill tree. Thanks to these improvements, they will help Skul to go much further in each round. One concern that makes each race a challenge is not having the ability to save and exit halfway through a dungeon, that is, if we need to close the game, we must abandon our current career. Also, no matter where we die, we will always reappear at our base and we will always start over from the first area.
Polished graphics and music to enjoy
In Skul: The Hero Slayer we can enjoy a highly polished pixel art with a retro aesthetic and a very attractive atmosphere. Each area is created with great detail and vibrant colors that attract the player to enjoy their visual style. What stands out the most in this game is undoubtedly the animations. All of them are very well cared for, offering very good experiences both in the playability of the character and in the explosion of the combats. In a moment you can create a burst of colors, numbers and skills that amuses and encourages you to want more. The aesthetics of the skulls is a very original and fun theme, it makes the player want to know each one of them to enjoy the animation and its creation. With regard to music, this is perfectly suited to the game and offers orchestrated music that is pleasant as well as joyful. It also allows the player to hear some sound details of the enemies when they are going to attack, allowing to create a better combat strategy.
Skul: The Hero Slayer is another example of an indie video game that has been lovingly created and they have managed to launch a roguelite with a lot of potential. It has a very solid combat with an excellent variety of gameplay thanks to the multiple characters offered by the different skulls, in addition to creating a gradual progress curve that you feel like you are advancing in this adventure. In addition, it has graphics and music that help you stay in the game for hours and hours. However, its imbalance when it comes to difficulty considering the RNG can cause it to not be a perfect game. Even so, thanks to his progress and the improvements unlocked by each race, he encourages the player to enter him again and again in the dungeons to continue creating a true hero.
- Great variety of characters and abilities.
- Fun and frantic battles.
- Very gradual and comfortable progress.
- Polished graphics and music to enjoy.
- Relying on an unbalanced RNG.
- Lack of tutorial at the beginning.
Remarkable finish game that we will enjoy and remember. A good buy, highly recommended for lovers of the genre. It is well cared for at all levels.