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Platform(s): PC
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Developer: Mandragora
Release Date: Oct. 6, 2015


PC Preview - 'Skyhill'

by Redmond Carolipio on July 16, 2015 @ 1:00 a.m. PDT

Skyhill is a rogue-like survival game with clever mechanics for crafting and collecting, a deep questing system and randomly generated levels -- it offers solid fun with near endless replay.

Not every game about surviving apocalyptic situations involves elaborate cinematics and engineering sorcery. Sometimes, it's just a man trying to make it to the bottom of his own building.

That's the premise for Skyhill, Daedalic's minimalist, side-scrolling take on the survival genre. You play Perry Jason, a billionaire shut off from the outside world during World War III. He's based out of his penthouse apartment with one goal in mind: Make a treacherous journey to the bottom of his massive high-rise without getting killed in the process. The elevators only sort of sometimes work, which means Perry mostly has to take the stairs and search room by room, floor by floor to find items to help him on his quest to the bottom.

Part of the challenge of the game as Perry sojourns to the bottom is regular maintenance of his well-being. Every trip down to a floor ebbs away at his food, so you have to keep him relatively satiated, lest he start to go hungry and worse off in terms of his health. You'll find food and other edibles as you descend further, as you can only store so much.

But hunger pales in comparison to some of the other things Perry can encounter in rooms and hallways of his building, namely monsters and what appear to be mutated humans swinging wildly with malicious intent. Using a combination of menus with some point-and-click, Perry can combat and slay these denizens or choose to stay away. Sometimes, conflict is unavoidable, as some monsters are encountered in front of the stairs or in a room Perry needs to access. Room searches can lead to Perry finding a variety of weapons, such as a wooden plank or a hammer, and as you can expect, the weapons have variations of striking power.

What adds a little bit of terror to the experience is that the creatures are randomly generated and almost never show up in the same room twice. You never know when they are going to show up and how strong they'll be, though I was told that apparently the kind of things you encounter get progressively much worse the closer Perry gets to the bottom, which adds a bit of Dante's Inferno flavor to the experience.

By design, players don't quite know what's happening. Skyhill's overarching story is told in pieces, through notes Perry finds in the rooms he searches. Depending on what you find, the game gives you one of three endings if you make it to the bottom alive. Exploration, being judicious with your stuff and who (or what) you fight and knowing when to retreat back to your top-floor penthouse to regroup (once you find a floor where the elevator works) appear to be the basic cornerstones of Perry's experience. It is simple yet fun. Watching someone play through it reminded me a little of people making "runs" through Bloodborne, even though the games are very, very different. Players will get to see for themselves when Skyhill comes out Oct. 6.

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