The world of Skellboy is charming from the opening moments. The visual aesthetic is pleasing, the characters are funny, and the adventure hits the ground running. You’re on a quest to stop Squaruman from conquering Cubold Kingdom. This evil wizard suffered through a breakup with the princess, and now he’s pissed. In his anger, Squaruman has summoned hordes of undead creatures — but also someone heroic: our hero, Skippy. It’s an intriguing narrative, and one that I enjoyed. I just wish the overall experience had left me satisfied. Skellboy became tedious as I progressed.
Players control Skippy, who uses various weapons to defeat undead enemies. You begin with a basic sword but eventually unlock ranged, heavy, and magic weapons. There are multiple types of each style of weapon as well, so mixing and matching can help discover your preferred loadout.
In addition to weapons, Skippy can also find different varieties of armor. Some can leave flame trails to burn enemies. There’s one that turns your head into a bomb, letting you enter new locations. One set of armor allows you to fly. Some give Skippy increased health. There’s a lot of fun when it comes to finding out which armor and weapon combination is your favorite.
A whole new (open) world
At first, I thought Skellboy would be a straightforward experience. You’re simply tasked with going from point A to point B. But eventually, because of a narrative situation, exploration becomes the focal point of the adventure.
Skippy can go to whatever area he desires. However, there isn’t a map; you just need to know where you’re going. Because of this, exploration isn’t necessarily easy, and I often found myself scratching my head after taking a wrong turn. Luckily, there are gravestones (save spots) that act as fast travel locations after unlocking the crypt later on in the game. Even so, a map would’ve made the journey more manageable, rather than overwhelming me.
One of the most significant issues for me is the fact that Skellboy constantly slowed down. The frame rate became unbearable at times and often “skipped” around. Running made me frustrated because it would continuously lag. This issue would become worse when there were multiple enemies on screen. In the open areas, this proved troublesome, but indoors, Skellboy almost felt unplayable in the build I played.
Let’s play dress-up
The crypt is where Skippy can change into the perfect version of himself. Every single piece of armor and weapon that you find will instantly be transported to the crypt, making it the ideal place to discover your perfect loadout. There may be moments when you accidentally swap armor in areas, (It happened to me multiple times.) and that’s when the crypt becomes your saving grace. While not everyone may actually find the crypt, as you need to interact with a specific character, doing so will make Skellboy a much more enjoyable experience.
Broken pieces all around
Combat and platforming in Skellboy leave something to be desired. Attacking enemies with your weapons works, but the hit detection doesn’t feel satisfying at all. I can visibly see the bad guys get damaged, but something always feels off about the combat. It’s a shame because Skellboy is an action RPG, and one of the biggest selling points falls flat.
Platforming fares better, but its most significant enemy is the camera. Since Skellboy is in the isometric style, you can’t really manipulate the camera. This proves to be a nuisance when jumping around because you can easily miss platforms that you need to hop on. One area in the sewer system had a series of pipes that I was required to traverse. I kept missing the jump because of the camera angle.
I really wanted to like Skellboy. As I mentioned, the beginning moments led me to believe that I was going to have an enjoyable experience. The world is endearing, and I absolutely love the characters and humor. Unfortunately, despite some great ideas, a lot of the execution falls flat. With some tweaks and patches, some of my issues might be fixed, but as a whole, Skellboy isn’t a journey worth taking.
However, if recent patches do remedy issues, we will make an update here to note that.
A review code was provided by the publisher.