Games

Skul: Hero Slayer Review

This metaphor may be a little sniffing, but Skul: The Hero Slayer brings a fresh new look to the now-filled roguelike genre by giving it literally a lot of faces. Like the strange descendants of Deadcell and the Mask of The Legend of Zelda, Majora, this undead adventure combines a fast-paced 2D platform and combat with a constantly entertaining ability to freely swap hero skulls and playstyles. And while arguably sharing DNA with Dead Cells (in fact, The Prisoner is actually a playable cameo character), Skul is by no means an imitator, comparable to inspiration in chaotic combat quality. And it stands out enough. As with all roguelike games, the key to getting better is learning the areas, enemy types, bosses you may face in random runs, and permanently upgrading your character’s basic stats. There are benefits to both earning and getting a little stronger with each try. But what really shines in Skul is how head swapping can keep the grind lasting and fun, even after dozens of hours of failure. At the push of a button, a docile little skeleton adventurer transforms into a whole new monster, imbuing you with the power of its head, like a slightly morbid, body-snatching Kirby.

You can find and select different types of heads, such as floating gargoyles, rampaging flesh monsters, and adorable ents, which are basically pixelated groots. Each of the more than 30 options you can equip comes with the ability to give you unique speed, range of attack, and unique playstyle. Since you can carry two at a time, you can instantly switch to the maximum value. effect.

It is imperative to quickly exchange their skills with your two heads.


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In fact, it is imperative to quickly swap the two equipped heads and use their skills synergistically. For example, you can play as one of many slow and powerful melee classes like Predator to brute force combat, but to switch when caught, move fast to the second slot. You may need a skull. You need to finish immediately in a small space. Some skulls cannot be used without a reliable second skull. For example, a bomber skull is solely intended to self-destruct as quickly and catastrophically as possible, forcing it into another skull shape.

Some of these options become powerful as soon as you find them, while others are weak and need to be upgraded in the run until you reach the final most powerful form. In other words, as you progress, you can slowly progress to greatness. Or, if you’re lucky, find a great skull that’s scrambled to adjust the entire build around you. This is great. That’s because you can’t always get a lucky loot drop. You can control your destiny by building a more general skull during the run and making every bit runnable in the endgame. That said, you can keep your favorite parts of the previous build in its second skull slot, so it’s always great when something great falls on your lap and quickly becomes a bad guy. I’m in the mood.

The important thing is that not only is every character really fun to play, but it also feels perfectly viable in the endgame. In games like this, I usually look for a build that suits my playing style and stick to it as much as possible, but with Skul, I’m happy to play with almost anyone, no matter how big the difference. I noticed. a wonderful time. During one successful run, I can use a magician to set fire to the enemy in hell, and in the next run, I can upgrade the soldier’s skull and summon 12 friendly subordinates at a time. Made the ultimate undead general. The variety of styles is very impressive.

Skul, as you can imagine, no, demand is quite difficult.


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However, each playthrough is not just defined by the selected head. The types of random items you collect on the move are much deeper than that. Some are as easy as increasing magic damage and movement speed, but like a fairy believer who gets stronger the more you collect, it defines the entire build until you can summon a demigod ally. There is also. You can collect all 5 in one playthrough.

Skul, as you can imagine, is so difficult to demand from this type of game that even such benefits are not easy. As someone who saw the endings of games like Dead Cells, Hades, Darkest Dungeon, it took more than 20 hours to defeat the last boss and achieve the first clear (successful execution took about an hour). ). There are five different areas to fight your way, each with a unique roster of mobs, environmental hazards, a great retro soundtrack, and finally a big boss fight waiting to knock off your blocks. There is. But with a solid build and not a little practice, making it into credit is an achievable and fun reward to save dozens of unsuccessful run burns.

There are significant differences between the five territories, and when you first reach a new territory, some of your enemies and mechanics may be insurmountable or seem quite cheap. The servant of the head of the castle comes to mind. She always summons an army of fewer servants to hit you with a broom and throw a plate before escaping like a coward. However, like many procedural games, each area follows a fairly predictable formula, and after a while you will be able to recognize patterns and room layouts. The first area is filled with forest creatures, weak knights, and a simple platform that creates a relatively safe space to level up your character and develop build strategies, while the lab-themed area is filled with Filled with devastating magical users, flooded with deadly traps-oh, and almost all enemies explode when you kill them.

A fairly simple boss is one of Skul’s weak elements.


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The fairly simple bosses at the edge of each area are one of Skul’s weaknesses, as they lack the same level of diversity as they supervise. After defeating the boss once or twice, you can see everything you can see from the boss, and instead of threatening the gatekeeper, you start to feel like the chores needed to move on to the next area. There are no variations that are sometimes seen in roguelike games. This seems a strange oversight to those who nail almost everything else in this genre.

Thankfully, no matter what you’re facing, the responsiveness of the controls (both keyboard and controller) is top notch, allowing you to make satisfying momentary decisions, jump out of danger and fight you. Enemy with the highest accuracy. The platform itself never gets close to the hard ones, but when surrounded by dozens of violent cult followers, buttery-smooth controls do help.

In addition to being a bit tricky, new from Early Access, Skul can be plagued by stutters with a slight but regular frame rate, and audio can come and go. Even on my high-end PC (with 2080ti GPU and Ryzen 9 CPU), this problem was quite common. It was certainly not bad enough to affect my enjoyment or completely ruin my run, but due to some of the hits I made when stuttering was particularly untimely.

The retro world of skeletons and knights is absolutely fascinating.


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Speaking of bad timing, last year Hades raised the level of storytelling in roguelike action games to a pious level. This makes the skull look a little darker. It’s a heartfelt story, but the story of the ancient conflict between the Devil’s Kingdom and the Evil Human Kingdom isn’t particularly well-told. The translation from the original Korean conversation to English is sometimes quite poor, and the short pieces of conversation that take place after each boss battle are stiff and a bit awkward-this is unhelpful by the fact of twists and turns. Are as predictable as they are coming. However, charming characters such as the transforming witch who will help you along the way and the timid death knight who loves knitting and interior design are shining.

Even where the story stumbles, the retro world of skeletons and knights is absolutely fascinating, from its beautiful pixelated art style to the reversal of the role of the devil as a good man and a monster that kills humans. I will. Like a castle servant who wanted to pull out his teeth with a carpenter just to slash, bounce, and love me over and over again for the world and its characters Did not count a few worsening enemies’ tools.

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