Game Review #181: Skyhill (Nintendo Switch)
Updated: Mar 8, 2019
Reviewer: Bradford “TheWaffinator87” Ekstrom
Category: Point and Click, Adventure, Role-Playing
Release Date: 2.26.2019
Price (At Time of Review): $14.99
Buy Skyhill from the Nintendo eShop here.
Run, Hide, Survive
The year is unclear; the only thing that is certain is World War III is happening, and it’s happening right now. You, Perry Jason, were in your luxurious penthouse suite in the Skyhill Hotel when you turn on the television to see that a biochemical bomb has been launched and you are about to be in some serious trouble! You look out the window and, in the distance, can see the impact of the missile and the mushroom cloud of the chemical that is about to change the world you once knew. Communication to the outside world is down; you can’t even call anyone for help within the very hotel where you are staying.
You are on the 99th floor, you have nothing to worry about, right? Wrong! Time is passing by and what’s this feeling you are starting to feel? That’s right, it’s only natural that you start to feel hungry and anxious. You have two choices; you play it safe, stay in your high up and secure room, and then starve to death, or you put your big boy pants on and fight your way through whatever mutants await you as you fight your way out of 99 floors of hell.
Skyhill is a point and click survival horror/action game from developer Mandragora, and publisher Klabater. At first glance I was like “Oh great another mutant horror survival game. I bet this will be mediocre.” I was dead wrong. Although I was right about it being another horror survival game, it is not mediocre at all. In fact, I really enjoyed the intro of the game. It wasn’t your average cinematic entry or animation, but more like a comic style introduction. I love comics so I really liked the layout.
Don’t worry, I’m not the spoiler type, so I left out most of the intro. I just wanted to show the interesting introduction. Skyhill takes the core styles of a few different kinds of games and combines them in a way that not only actually works in a nice and smooth manner but makes the game strategic and challenging. Even though you have your basic difficulty settings EASY, MEDIUM, HARD, and HARDCORE (for those who really have a death wish) the game will push you no matter what you choose, so I would choose EASY to get the hang of it and see how the game plays out before moving on up in the difficulty settings. And every time you die and restart the game the hotel is randomly generated, meaning don’t bother trying to memorize the layout and where items are because what you think you know doesn’t matter and won’t save you when the layout is random and always changing.
Just Point and Click Perry, Just Point and Click
Skyhill being a point and click style game is just like most other point and click games. You have the Left Thumbstick to highlight the area in which you want to travel, the A Button to select the room or confirm options in the menu section, Y Button pulls up the Inventory/Menu and B Button will back out of and close the menu. When you are in a room that has multiple areas in which you can search for supplies you use ZL and ZR to cycle through what you want to search. When it comes to fighting the mutants you have three sections you can choose from to attack. Just use the A Button to confirm and you will take a swing at selected area of the target.
There was blood, and I could hear the Screams!
As you can see from the few screenshots that I have shared thus far, the graphics of this game are very 2D and almost as basic as can be. But you know what? If you can offer a compelling story and good gameplay the graphics do not always have to be top notch. I mean look at the games that are still being published with 16-bit retro style graphics in a world of gaming where virtual reality is now a thing. As for the audio aspect of the game, it is spot-on. The background music is there but on the faint side so that way it gives off an eerie vibe. It allows you to hear all the sound effects better such as footsteps, the dinging of the elevator shafts, the creaking when doors open, and of course the growls and grunts of the mutants you will encounter.
I mean if they were going for scary via visuals there would have to be more of the elements of surprise to spook you because when you go into a room the mutant is just sitting there basically waiting for you which really doesn’t make me want to shriek, never mind a scream. If I am going to play a horror survival game there needs to be the element of surprise, without that it’s just meh. However, like I was saying the audio was there to make the eerie vibe possible, it just lacked some popping out mutants. Example: Below is a screen shot of me going into a new floor and hey look there’s a mutant just chilling waiting for a fight.
A Little More Before I Go
I mentioned earlier in this review that this game takes a few different game styles/mechanics and mashes them together successfully in a smooth way. Not only is this a point and click game, it also has elements of turn based attacking when it comes to fighting the mutants. And when you are attacking the mutants you will have a few choices of where you want to hit and based off the body part you want to attack it will let you know what the success rate of the attack will be and what the area of damage will trigger if successful. It reminds me of rolling dice in D&D to see what will happen based of the dice roll.
The health system, oh man the health system. Okay, usually in a video game health is your best friend, in this game it is like an enemy. It is a race against time and hoping to find the right supplies to keep you alive. This is because you kind of have two health bars. Your actual health and your Food bar.
Now the food bar is basically a count down of how many steps you can take before you start to starve to death. Every step you take (so every room you enter because going to each room takes one step) drops your food meter down by one. Once it reaches 0 - if it does - it will start to ping your actual health bar but not for 1 damage like it did with the food meter, but it doubles and goes to 2 damage per step! Oh, and if you’re lucky enough to get POISONED by a mutant or infected food (total sarcasm right there just in case you didn’t notice), well every step you take not only reduces your food meter but your health meter as well. So, if you can’t shimmy up a remedy for the poison you can kiss your butt goodbye.
This game is very strategic and will push your decision-making skills to the brim with all kinds of challenges as you try to escape the hotel. The furthest I have made it to the ground floor was floor 28 and I died due to being poisoned and not being able to shimmy up that silly antidote. As you can see in above screenshot you can unlock perks that you can choose in your next attempt in escaping and the more you play the more you will unlock. However, perks don’t always mean they will favor you, but will favor the game in some shape or form. I really recommend reading the descriptions thoroughly and not rush when picking perks if you do.
I have really enjoyed this game the last few days and I am looking forward to adding it to my Switch collection as a permanent keeper. I will go until I beat the game. The only flaws that I could find were lack of blood, I mean come on if you have knife fights with mutants you figure there should be more bloodshed, and the lack of the element of surprise to really give it a horror feel. Other than that for only $14.99 this game really offers replay value which is huge to make video games good and relevant and I recommend giving this game a shot.
Buy Skyhill from the Nintendo eShop here.
*Review Code Provided by Klabater