Hope you have an excellent pair of shoes on because we are about to go down 100 flights of stairs in Mandragoras roguelike zombie apocalypse game Skyhill. The story is very simple, You are an out of town resident of Skyhill hotel, who has survived biological catastrophe because you had the money to stay in a room that has protection from the biohazardous material. While you are in your room, the news reports of World War 3 and a bomb goes off outside your hotel! Guess it would be a bad time to order for Chinese takeout to be delivered to your room!
The point of the game is very simple, GET OUT. To get out of your penthouse in search of other survivors as well as escape from the hotel in general. The problem is that all elevators in the building are off, which otherwise would make for the worlds shortest roguelike game! You are on floor 100, so the only option is to make your way down the stairs. As far as you know, everyone in the building has died. There are other citizens in the building, but they have become zombies or other terrifying beasts. How ironic that the people that were once serving meals to you not so long ago are now coming to you at every step you take to them is, in a sense, you serving them a proverbial meal.
The layout of the tower is pretty simple. The top floor is your room, the VIP Room which acts as your home base. You will come back to your room frequently as it is the only room in which you can craft new items and weapons from the assorted household objects you will find as you scavage through rooms. You have the ability to sleep to gain health back as well but at the cost of hunger points. The individual floors have 3 rooms. The middle room is the stairwell. The side rooms house anything from enemies to items, to absolutely nothing. Each time you play the game, the rooms will be randomly generated, so it is important to go into every room with each run.
Zombies are not the only ones starving, you always have to be conscious of your hunger meter. Each room you walk into will deduct one point of hunger from a maximum of 100. Once you run out of hunger points, you will starve and that deducts health from you over a period of time. You also don’t want to starve because that leads to being overly crabby to people. There is no Snickers Bar coming to save the day! You WILL find food scattered throughout the floors that can be consumed right away to bring that hunger level back up, or you can go back to your VIP room to work some kitchen magic!
The combat was my favourite part of the game. Each encounter gives you the option to change your item beforehand. This gives you the opportunity to heal up from your last encounter, as well as change what weapon you have equipped. When combat starts, it gives you the ability to target a specific part of the creature’s body. Each spot will give you a percentage that you will connect as well as a general range of how much damage you will do. Think the VATs system from the Fallout games! The lower percentage targets will also do the most damage, so you have to gauge each fight and decide if it’s worth the chance to go for those big hits. It can and will cost you at some point and you
Each time you play will not necessarily be for nought. As you play, you will unlock abilities that can be used for the next run. There are many different abilities, so deciding what you want to use can difficult. Sometimes your choices could affect you negatively in the big picture. Along with the abilities, you will gain levels as you descend the hotel. You can use the points you gain to boost your stats. However you disperse your points will affect your speed, strength, dexterity, or accuracy. It’s important to balance these out as you progress down the hotel.
Skyhill was a game that I didn’t think I would enjoy too much as I am not the biggest fan of roguelikes. I hate having to start from scratch with little to nothing to show for my efforts. That being said, Skyhill kept me coming back for more. I love that the endgame is as clear as day. The game can be repetitive in nature, but it still is very enjoyable.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*