11th Mar2020

‘Skellboy’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Chris Cummings

skellboy-screen

I didn’t know anything about Umaiki Games’ Skellboy when I had a chance to play it recently. A super colourful throwback action-RPG with beautifully whimsical and charming pixelated visuals, it plays smoothly and has a whole bunch weird and wonderful things going for it. So, let’s talk about it a bit.

You rise from the depths of death as Skippy, a skeleton, and to cut a long story short, you embark on a journey to battle hordes of zombies and villains in order to save the Cubold Kingdom and find the missing princess. The gameplay mostly involves this battling, as you wander the kingdom and hack and slash against enemies, big and small, easy and a little on the more challenging side. You have a chance to use a variety of weapons, from swords to axes to clubs, and while the combat can become a little “samey” it’s still easy to play and fulfilling enough.

The visual style of the game is lovely. I was really impressed by that element here, and it stands out as the most interesting part of Skellboy. The 3D world with an appearance of 2D old-school gaming visuals works really well, with Skippy himself moving a little like Paper Mario does when he hits a 3D level. He flips as he turns direction and it’s pretty damn cool. You can even change your body parts, picking up zombie heads to swap your skull for, or even haystacks to put in place of your torso. Very odd, but pretty funny. There’s plenty to explore in Skellboy which is nice, but that combat I mentioned earlier, and the slow plodding nature of the movements, means that this can take a while. I still had a lot of fun searching around the world though, and finding new things to look at and other enemies to battle.

A delightful game to look at and an easy game to get into and play for a while, it lacks “oomph” for sure, and becomes a little tedious eventually, but I had a good time with it for a while. The game opens up about half-way through, and things do improve there, so it’s well worth persevering with it. It’s one of those titles that is nice to pick up and have a crack at once in a while, and though there are missed opportunities going on, it does a fine job for the most part. A pretty cool action RPG option on the Switch that plays lovely on the handheld.

*** 3/5

Skellboy is available on the Nintendo eShop now.

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