Skul: The Hero Slayer Preview – Making Roguelike Heads Roll
Roguelike titles have always been an excellent supplement for both challenging gameplay and reply value. Over the years, developers continue to innovate systems within the genre to make each title a unique experience. Skul: The Hero Slayer is an adorable 2D platformer rogue-lite by developer SouthPAW Games and publisher Neowiz that I was able to take an early look at for this preview.
Skul: The Hero Slayer follows the protagonist Skul, a little lowly skeleton minion of the Demon King, who is tasked with rescuing his master after the terrible Imperial Army and Hero of Caerleon laid siege to the Demon King’s castle. Equipped with nothing but his purple cape and a femur bone from one of his fallen comrades, Skul must brave the perilous woods fighting a vast number of enemies along the way.
Skul: The Hero Slayer‘s controls are relatively simple with a basic attack, dash, double jump, 1-2 special abilities, and an item skill. However, Skul: The Hero Slayer mixes things up by allowing Skul to pick up the skulls of his fallen comrades and gain new abilities, stats, and basic attacks. This is the core mechanic and one that I found to be very interesting as each skull plays somewhat differently, which changed how I approached each playthrough. The game loop is charming and features enough systems that held my attention through multiple playthroughs.
Like other roguelikes, once Skul dies, you’ll have to start over from the beginning, and you lose all of your items and gold. The game basically resets, and you have to go once more through a series of randomly generated maps. During my time playing, I didn’t see any mechanics for saving gold or items between runs and am not sure if that is a planned mechanic to be added.
Personally, I hope this gets added because I found it rather tedious to make progress only to lose everything once I died. For example, it took me quite a few tries to beat the first boss: a stereotypical tank and archer from an adventuring party. Strangely, I found myself having to fight the same boss after my run reset even though I already beat them once. This stifled my progression to get further and was frustrating overall as I just become a little bored of fighting the same bosses. You also have the option to buy things in shops, but if the maps you encounter before the shop don’t provide you with enough gold, you can barely afford anything.
Skul: The Hero Slayer has potential, and I enjoyed my time playing However, there are some things that I hope will get changed or added to the final game to make the experience more enjoyable. Perfecting the roguelike elements of the game is crucial to the overall experience, and I would love to see more incentives for my lengthy play sessions. That being said, I will definitely keep my eye out for where this game goes, and I am looking forward to its official release.
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