[PAX EAST] Hands On With Skyhill: Black Mist

Written by Derek Wright

Into the Abyss

A giant conglomerate with shady goings-on, unexplainable evil monsters, and a missing person. This all sounds a bit like Resident Evil, but it’s not, it’s something different; maybe something Russian. Russian studio Mandragora is bringing us a sequel to their stylish horror survival game, Skyhill with Skyhill: Black Mist. I personally did not have any prior experience with the previous title but was quickly thrust into the nightmarish condominium of Skyhill.

The action takes place with an isometric camera angle, which is quite different and rather refreshing. You can fully see a room layout which can stop the “watch over your shoulder” fear present in most horror games. With that fear gone, a new one was added. Being able to see the enemy in front of you and not being able to fight it. Ammunition or any means to fight back were very slim. You had a gun, but almost no ammo. Crafting shivs from objects lying around was an option, but they were single use items best saved for stealth take downs.

Survival of the Fittest

Story details for this title were vague at the beginning, but all that mattered was finding my daughter who was kidnapped and escape. Simple enough right? If this was a normal story, then it would have been easy, but this wasn’t that kind of game. Abnormal creatures stalked the halls as well as a security force armed to the teeth. With limited ways to fight back, stealth was the only option. There were many crevices and corridors to seek shelter in, allowing the security force to leave me be for a moment.

As soon as the humans left, the terrors arose. If possible, it is best to avoid their line of sight, which is shown on screen. If you are spotted by one of the altered beasts, it can be quite hard to shake them. I was only able to pull it off once by running out of its line of sight and jumping into a cabinet. If you have the shivs available, these beasties can be dealt with sneakily like. Again, one use and it’s gone, so best to save them until it is completely necessary.

A Sneaking Sensation

In my 30 or so minutes with the demo, I was able to see many of the ins and outs of the Skyhill condominium. While it did have a nice charm to it, certain sections have been completely taken over by the monsters, which gives it a terrifying black hue. These areas gave me more of a heightened sense of terror, as it felt additionally uneasy and I had to rely on my flashlight. After reaching the end of the terrible blackness of the infested area, I was granted with yet another scary surprise. Pure stealth.

The last section I experienced in the demo required me to try and outwit a few special ops soldiers and proximity mines. It proved to be quite challenging to get past the agents and not trip the explosives. Or should I say, try to get them to trip the explosives without them seeing me. It was quite rewarding, and I cannot wait to see what the rest of Skyhill: Black Mist has to offer.

Skyhill: Black Mist slithers onto the Nintendo Switch in 2020.

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