[Review] Skull Rogue – Nintendo Switch

Written by Brett Hill
  • Developer: Gnelf
  • Publisher: Drageus Games
  • Price: $2.99 / £2.69
  • Release Date: 28/02/2020
  • Review code provided by Drageus Games

Introducing: Skull Rogue Switch Review

Skull Rogue is an endless action adventure with rogue-like mechanics and RPG style game play. Levels are randomly generated from a combination of 6 terrains and becomes increasingly challenging the more rooms you explore. Collect dropped weapons and shields from defeated enemies to help you from the onslaught of skeletons. Whether you use your sword to slash and hack at the flesh-less foes or mana to take down multiple antagonists in one move, do you have what it takes to endure the journey ahead?

Living The Rogue Life

The game play is simple and quick to pick-up which made my life a lot easier due to the lack of tutorial or button mapping leaving you to work out the controls for yourself, it does flash up quickly how to attack and use mana at the start of every game which can be easily missed. I spent a few hours playing and dying constantly without knowing how to change direction resulting in me running in circles to get behind the enemy then to realize you need to toggle the right analog stick to swap orientation. Another strange feature was when you pressed the – button it disconnected the controllers making you press L+R again to jump back into the game, I am not sure if this is a bug or if it was intentional, not sure why you would include that in a game though.

Each level or room has a door on each side which opens after you have beaten the 3 waves of enemies making each play through unique but the game play can get repetitive rather quickly. The rooms are all the same size with randomly generated obstacles and terrains, obstacles range from grass that can slow you down or spikes in the ground which depletes health if you walk through. But underneath completing the room is the same every time, each of the 3 waves adds more skeletons to increase the difficulty making it very predictable early on in the game. There also doesn’t seem to be any reward for learning new skills or leveling up as destroying the enemies is down to chance, if you get the first blow and keep tapping you can pretty much guarantee a kill but if your too late and get hit first it is difficult to get out of the ambush and its time to start all over again.

The aim of the game is to survive as long as possible and explore as many rooms as possible. The idea is to level up and use hero points to increase life, mana, recovery and attack distance. Doing this can get monotonous and a slog before you start to notice a difference as you last longer on your runs. I found myself alternating between extra health and attack distance to help take down multiple enemies with your sword.

Finders Keepers

You will notice from the start that your bony hero is at a disadvantage as you wield a far from adequate dagger trying to fight off enemies with blood splattered jagged saw like swords and massive broadswords. There is the opportunity to pick up any dropped weapons and armour from the pile of bones of your attackers. The armour on the other hand doesn’t seem to serve a purpose other than cosmetic.

The look and feel of Skull Rogue is reminiscent of a dungeon crawler straight from the 8-bit era, the 2D sprites look great and move smoothly. The level design is well polished and keeps to the original feel that people fell in love with 30 years ago. The soundtrack serves a purpose with no standout moments filled with droning drumbeats and sound effects of barrels and bottles smashing with the clanging of swords.

Conclusion

Skull Rogue is a strong addition to the over-saturated roguelike catalogue of games that swamps the e-shop and for the price you will get your monies worth in a few hours. It is the perfect game to jump into and play if you have a spare half an hour. It can get tiresome rather quickly due to the repetitiveness to the game if played for long periods of time which is why I would recommend playing in short bursts.

Pros

  • Fun game to pick up for short bursts
  • Simple game play for all ages
  • Priced correctly

Cons

  • Could do with expanding the menu and adding a map for the controls
  • Game play can get repetitive if playing for long periods
  • Pressing the – button disconnects controllers

Verdict
A fun roguelike dungeon crawler that is best played in short bursts due to its repetitive game play.
3/5

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