Every now and then a game comes along that has such an interesting visual style to it that you have to give it a try regardless of how good the game may or may not actually be. Skellboy from developer Umaiki Games and publisher Fabraz is one such game as it’s blend of 2D and 3D visuals make for a distinct look. Is the rest of the game as charming as the visuals are?
The story of Skellboy is about an evil magician named Squaruman who gets turned down by the princess of the Cubold Kingdom and decides to try to take over it using an undead army. The character you play as, Skippy, is one of these undead who decides to instead fight Squaruman in order to save the kingdom. The story is a bit silly but it does have a certain charm to it and will likely at least get a few chuckles out of you. The whole main story is pretty lengthy as my playthrough took me around nine hours to finish which is pretty good for the price of this game.
Skellboy is an adventure/ action RPG game and so you’ll be spending a lot of your time exploring and fighting new enemies and gaining new abilities. As a skeleton, Skippy has the ability to swap out parts of his body for those of his enemies. You can swap out his legs, head, and chest pieces. Depending on which parts you come across and equip you can gain new abilities such as more health and resistance to certain effects. Early in the game you have to make choices about which parts to leave behind but when you reach a certain point you’ll gain access to everything you’ve found to that point and be able to switch between them freely. As for weapons there are around five different types that you can find and wield including swords, axes, and lances. You can carry one of each type at a time and switch between them at any point.
Combat in the game against normal enemies isn’t very deep as you pretty much just go up to them and swing your equipped weapon to kill them. It’s about as deep as the combat in something like Minecraft. Boss fights are more challenging though as you’ll have to learn their movements in order to get in there and land your blows safely. Each one was pretty fun to behold visually too and they were one of my favorite parts about this game.
The rest of the game is just you walking around the world and exploring. The game is pretty linear early on but opens up a bit more the further you get in. Sadly the movement speed while exploring is too slow and needed to be a bit faster so to not be quite so annoying. I get that you’re a skeleton and all but I mean c’mon get those bony legs moving a bit faster Skippy. You do gain access to some fast travel points in the game to help get to where you need to go faster but they don’t make up for the lousy movement speed. The game has puzzles scattered about that you’ll have to solve but none of them are very challenging. You’ll be doing a lot of the usual switch flipping and using certain abilities to progress. The game also has optional quests you can do to help get a bit more of it should you want to.
When it comes to the visuals again I’ll say that the 2D mixed with 3D look they built this game with is the best part about it. Whether you’re exploring the castle, farms or whatever the world is full of detail that I was always admiring. That said not everything is perfect as the game had some performance drops while I was playing through it. It really was annoying to have the game stutter as I was trying to move from place to place and I can only hope a patch is coming to address this. The game’s camera system usually does a good job of angling itself to show things well but at times it would move into an awkward position that made it hard to see what I needed to. The music was enjoyable but you do hear a lot of the same tunes over the course of the game.
Skellboy is an enjoyable enough adventure title that I’d recommend giving it a shot at some point. The problem is that point for you might be better when/if the technical issues get patched. The visuals in this game are the best part about it and the gameplay and story are solid enough to warrant recommending it. It’s just that the slowdown that I encountered hurt this game a lot in my mind. If it gets patched to run better you can probably add a point to this review.
*Skellboy is available now on Nintendo Switch and PC. Reviewed on Nintendo Switch. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.