Skully (PC) Preview

By Athanasios 03.07.2020

Review for Skully on PC

It's not very often that the hero of a platformer is just a spherical object. In fact, the only thing that this critic can name off the top of his head is the PlayStation platform-puzzler and cult classic, Kula World from the distant 1998. Skully goes even further, as the protagonist isn't a ball, but a skull. Too morbid? Not really. The creation of Finish Line Games, the developer behind Maize, is actually a whimsical 3D platformer, taking place in a sunlit island, where the purpose is to help a jolly deity save his land. Take a look at it, a month before its release, and find all about it.

Through a simple slideshow-style cut-scene, players get to witness the birth of the titular Skully, which is exactly what the name implies: a skull. Magically created by a overly happy earth spirit/deity, it is send on a mission to meet the rest of this godly family, and put an end to whatever bad things are happening in this, otherwise, peaceful-looking island. Now, while it's a bit too soon to say for sure, the first two levels experienced here make it pretty clear that this isn't a game whose strength is its storytelling.

The one character you'll interact with feels more like those NPCs that act as the tutorial in MMORPGs, rather than a memorable sidekick, and both the dialogue and - almost annoyingly cheerful - delivery of his lines leave a lot to be desired. The visual aspect of Skully isn't something great either, to be honest. Each pixel screams 'Unreal Engine,' with everything looking very good, but it all lacks character. It's just a nicely-textured island, with nicely-crafted water and mud effects, yet everything is somewhat forgettable. At least Skully itself is quite cute, despite being... well, part of a corpse.

Screenshot for Skully on PC

Therefore, no. Don't come in for the plot or atmosphere. This is all about the gameplay, which revolves around rolling Skully in some, generally linear, levels, trying to reach the end, doing some minor platforming along the way. Sounds simple, and it definitely is, but you need to constantly move Skully around, as it is basically a ball, and therefore doesn't simply stop like, say, Mario, Sonic, Crash, and so on. You need to be extra careful, because Skully's life disappears incredibly fast when it falls on water. Do listen to the developer's advice, and use a gamepad. Don't sweat it, though, checkpoints are aplenty.

Is that all there is to do? Sadly, yes. The only reason to "explore" around is to collect flowers whose only purpose is to unlock concept art, so, other than the fun of discovering them, one can safely go straight to the finishing line. The only additional mechanic here is how Skully can transform into a golem-type creature, that can crash walls, and attack water-based enemies with a blast move, but the two levels experienced here don't really push the player into using said abilities creatively. It all feels a bit too tutorial-esque for it to be entertaining. Hopefully, the end product, where two more forms are bound to appear, will be much better. Muddy fingers crossed.

Screenshot for Skully on PC

Final Thoughts

While generally a well-made product, Skully unfortunately falls under that category of games that are just... ok. There's some fun to be had in this 3D platformer, but not enough to stay with you for long. Here's hoping that the final release in August will prove to be a lot meatier.

Developer

Finish Line Games

Publisher

Modus Games

Genre

3D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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