July 21, 2015 6:36 PM | Sean Flint
With all of the zombie/mutant-slaying games available on today's market, it is imperative that games in that genre feature a unique twist if they want to stand out among the crowd. Skyhill pits the player against threatening mutant creatures, but also manages to tell a story of survival and create an emotional attachment between the player and their character.
Skyhill is an extremely simple game. A roguelike where your primary focus is to stay alive, Skyhill definitely needed to ensure that the mechanics featured enough complexity to keep the game interesting in the face of such a basic concept.
In Skyhill, you play a character who is currently on a trip far from home, and decides to stay at the fancy Skyhill hotel. After you check in and sit down in your suite, you are immediately briefed by the news anchor on television to take cover and turn on your biological defense system, as a nuclear strike is being launched. After the danger passes, you begin to hear strange sounds from outside your door. Your stomach begins to growl, and it is clear that you will have to face whatever dangers await you outside of the safety of your hotel room in order to survive.
Skyhill features randomly generated levels, but they are always laid out in the same pattern. There are 100 floors to Skyhill hotel that you must descend in order to escape, and each floor is comprised of 3 different rooms. The procedural part of the game lies in the content of these rooms, which is different on each playthrough of the game.
Control of your character is completely mouse-driven, meaning that you just click on whichever room you'd like to enter. In each room, there are a variety of things to interact with. Search cabinets, shelves, and wastebaskets in an attempt to search for supplies that can help you survive the long journey down to the bottom floor. The items that you find can be used to craft various items such as medkits, food, weaponry, and armor. Weapons can be upgraded and improved, giving you a better chance of defending yourself against the creatures that once were the hotel staff and guests.
While Skyhill is considered a roguelike, it also features elements of the survival genre. In order to stay alive, you have to ensure that your character is getting enough food. If you don't eat, your hunger bar will slowly decrease. Every room you explore removes 1 point from your bar, and if it reaches 0, you will lose 2 points of health damage for each room explored. Ensuring that you have enough food can be very difficult depending on how much you are able to find, but certain types of food can be combined in the crafting interface to form a more beneficial meal that will recover much more hunger than if the foods were consumed separately.
Skyhill's combat system is fairly simple. You equip your weapon (or your fists) and click on the enemy to deliver an attack. After you attack, the enemy will attack you. To be honest, the combat is a bit bland; however, there is a nice inclusion of a V.A.T.S-like system which allows you to choose which part of the creature you'd like to hit, and provides you with hit chance percentages and damage estimates. Combat was my least favorite part of Skyhill, as I found it much more compelling and thrilling to hunt for food and supplies and attempt to stay alive.
Skyhill doesn't currently have a release date*, but it is a game that has the potential to be extremely compelling if it continues to go in the right direction. On release, we can expect additional crafting recipes to add more variety to the game. If you're interested in learning more about Skyhill, you can visit their Greenlight page (they have already succeeded on Greenlight), or their official site.
*UPDATE: Skyhill will be releasing on October 6.