Game Review #368: Skelly Selest (Nintendo Switch)
Reviewer: Chad M.
Developer: Anthony Case, Caiysware
Category: Action, Arcade
Release Date: 5.24.2019
Price (at time of review): $9.99
Buy Skelly Selest from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
A Skeleton Needs Love Too!
The eShop looks to be thriving even in Hell; this is my second game that has a religious backstory. This time, I’m not playing as a god, but instead, hanging out in the hottest place around.... Hell. I’m preparing myself by sitting in the sauna at the gym, and now that you could cook an egg on my forehead, I’m jumping in and checking out the new game Skelly Selest.
Published by Digerati—who have amassed quite few games on the Switch eShop—Skelly Selest was developed by solo UK-based indie game maker, Anthony Case (Caiysware), who previously developed the game Call of the Wild. Now it’s time to let the flames roar as we step into Hell to check this one out.
One Skelly to Save Us All!
The prophecy foretells that, one day, Hell shall runneth over, and the evil dead will spill onto the Earth. That day has come, and it’s entirely too damn crowded down there. So, if this keeps going, the evil hordes will bust out and take over on Earth. Now only the Selestial Order can halt the depraved Hellion tide.
So, a brave little skeleton is sent down to Hell with a gun and an axe, and an order to rid Hell of its population problem. Overpopulation usually wouldn’t be a huge issue, but since these guys are evil dead hellspawn, lichemancers, and deamonica netherlords that mean to plague the world with death and dismay, it’s kind of a big deal. Brave little Skelly’s journey won’t be easy—or for the faint of heart—but hopefully, for the mere humans, he will be victorious.
Skelly Has the Moves to Make It Right
The game begins with a rather funny tutorial that lays out the controls: the left stick moves Skelly around, then we use three buttons to control the axe, gun, and the very resourceful dash. The game is a roguelike with a premise that’s pretty simple: you are dropped in a room with no exit, while demons are attacking you from all over, and you must battle these hellions while strategically running and evading them. Though the premise may be simple, the game is not so easy.
As a hallowed Skelly Knight of the Selestial Order, you’ll kill wave after wave and level after level until you hit that portal and it’s time to face the end boss level, and you want to be prepared by the time you fight the boss. When shooting your gun, you have to kill demons for your gun to reload, with each kill being a bullet back in the chamber, and things like this need to be weighed before fighting the end-level bosses.
One of These Modes is Not Like the Others
The game is going to get the obvious comparisons of games like Binding of Isaac, but the gameplay was so different that I didn’t see it at all, except for the hellish setting. Skelly Selest feels like it is filled with content, but even with all the modes and the small amount of RPG elements, I still felt like I was just doing the same thing, and it all really started to meld together. The game can be summed up with Wave Mode, Dungeon Mode, Arena Mode—Dungeon and Arena mostly just feel the same as Wave Mode—and the card game, Clashful Cards, which is tough as nails.
During the battles, as the waves of hellions and demons would come rushing in, swinging axes, shooting projectiles, and being all different sizes, I was utilizing the dash quite a bit; but just brushing past the enemies was taking health away, and it doesn’t give you the obligatory one or two seconds to get to safety, so if you’re still touching an enemy, that health meter just keeps draining. You can bust open chests to obtain items that will aid you, and when you finish a level, you are rewarded by choosing an upgrade that improves health, your gun, a larger or quicker axe, or a few other special upgrades to help Skelly out.
I had fun while playing, and was able to get around the difficulty curve, but I don’t see myself playing this for hours. More so, I’d jump in and play for a short while, then move on to something else. An online leaderboard would have helped give it more replay value and kept me playing longer sessions.
Audio & Video
The visuals are pixelated, and, as I’ve said before, I love pixel graphics when they are done well. I look for games to stand out visually to make a fun game that much more enticing to play, and this fell short in that department. The bosses stood out as well-designed, and Skelly is cute enough, as he can wear funny hats that you unlock, but the level design was underwhelming; and though the enemies seemed to vary, they also melded together, looking a little bland.
The music didn’t seem to fit the game either. As you are slashing demons’ bodies in half and blasting hellions faces off, I was expecting something fast-paced, like some rock or metal, not chiptunes. The sound effects met expectations, with chunky swipes of the axes, and projectiles screeching by.
It’s A Wrap!
Skelly Selest was a game I had fun playing, and though I had quite a few gripes, I wouldn’t say this is bad game at all. It’s a lot of fun when slaughtering the hordes of hell, and fits well as a time-sinking game for the Switch, but in saying that, I think online leaderboards would help keep gamers more engaged, and a slightly lower price point might be a little easier to swallow for a game you’ll play an hour or so here and there.
Buy Skelly Selest from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.